Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who will rebuild?

In my bible time this morning I was reading Isaiah 58. I admit, I read it often as a reminder of what God calls me to, of what worshiping God really means.  I urge you to read it or reread it in its entirety. 
Isaiah 58: 6 I'll tell you what it really means to worship the Lord. ......
Isaiah 58: 7 Share your food with everyone who is hungry, share your HOME WITH THE POOR AND HOMELESS (emphasis mine). .....
Isaiah 58:8,9 ....and the glory of the Lord will defend you from behind. 9. When you beg the Lord for help, he will answer, "Here I am!"....

Isaiah 58: 12
You will rebuild those houses left in ruins for years; you will be known as a builder and repairer of city walls and streets.   

So as I was reading verse 12, it came to me that maybe God just wasn't talking literally.  That the rebuilding of houses and city walls and streets was instead an analogy about rebuilding LIVES!  Now how cool and beautiful is that I ask you?!  

There are many ways in which we can reach out into the lives of others and help "rebuild", but none so close to my heart as adoption.  


James 1:27  (KJV)

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

I ask you, will you be a builder?  Will you be known as a repairer of lives?  Here is one little boy in desperate need!  He is on my mind all the time.  My heart breaks for this little life that has been in ruin for years!  Little Oliver needs his Mama!

 Olivers information can be found HERE!

Oliver is five years old and was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. Unfortunately for Oliver, he is severely neglected in the orphanage where he resides. According to a family who visited the orphanage, Oliver is never picked up or held, not even to be fed. The nannies simply lean over the side of the crib to give him a bottle. He is never moved from the position he is in, and he is often kept covered with a blanket so that no one has to see him. You read that right. A five year old little boy ... you know how much energy and enthusiasm five year old boys have! And this one, this dear five year old, Oliver, truly never leaves his crib. His life is devoid of even the most basic affection, attention, and stimulation. (taken from wonderofboys.blogspot.com)

Plead with Jesus on Olivers behalf that a Mama comes soon so his life is not left in ruins!

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Fabulous Family

Here is our first "official" family photo as a family of 13! Keller Photography & Design: linn &emdash; John and I in the center, and no I won't be sharing our ages! :) Then youngest to oldest is: Riley, 19............. Logan, 18.............. Nolan, 16........... Rhynee, 16............. Cale, 14............ Quincy, 12........... James, 11........... Yana, 9 [being held by red headed Cale :)].......... Tavi, 6........ Luke, 6....... Quentin, 1..... ................................................. I LOVE this picture. I love the diversity of my children both in looks AND personalities! Granted, some days I really wish there was some consistency among their personalities, but they are all so very different. It is both exhausting and exciting. It sure keeps us on our toes! .............................................................................. ps: WHY does blogger ONLY let me type as a solid block? I have it all spaced nicely when I publish it, but then it just becomes a giant block of type without spacing! ARGH!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Almost A Year????

I can not believe that Quentin's one year birthday is coming up in just a couple of weeks! I still remember "the call" like it was yesterday. "Kelly, she chose you! She chose your family." She chose us. And in the process I gained not only a beautiful son, but a friend! Blessed beyond all reason. Thank you Lord Jesus for this precious baby! The day he became officially ours, still in the NICU:
July 4th, 2012... isn't he a cutie??:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Stuck Like Glue, You And Me Baby We're Stuck Like Glue

Quincy and Tavi...
James and Riley...
Yana and Tavi...
Luke and Quentin...
Yana and Quentin....
Cale and Quincy...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Age has its advantages. I never really thought much about it, and even though you are told it all the time, years of living under your belt really does tend to change, or at least mature, ones perspective on so many things. Spiritual maturity being no different. Years of learning about praying, of relying on God, of listening for His voice and living within the desire of His will tends to start pruning ones thoughts and life of misguided beliefs, unneeded passions, wrong directions, and judgmental attitudes. Also, it helps to get rid of the subconscious "hero complex". We can do nothing apart from Him.
Without Jesus You Can Do Nothing Luis Mendez John 15:5 — "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." In the life of faith, a simple preposition determines the final result: With Jesus, everything is possible. Without Jesus, nothing is possible. Philippians 4:13 says this positively, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” All things. Through Christ. In Jesus, everything is possible. In John 15:5, Jesus states this truth negatively: “Apart from me you can do nothing.” The preposition is “apart” . . . from Jesus. The result is: nothing, not anything, naught, no single thing. Without Jesus, nothing of value is possible! This is real discipleship — complete dependence on Christ in everything. Our lives should be Christ-sufficient and not self-sufficient. This is the only way to bear fruit as his true disciple. Living in complete dependence on Christ requires great humility on our part. We must daily humble ourselves before him and acknowledge that apart from him we can do nothing.
One of the most important lessons my heart and mind have learned is that it is not my job or position to bring conviction for change to peoples lives. It is not my job to direct their steps, or place my opinion of what is important in front of them. It is not my job to dole out judgment of their worthiness, sincerity, or motives.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Ephesians 2:10 God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.(Gods Word Translation)
Yes I believe there is right and wrong, and that the things that are right or wrong are not subjective, but absolute. I also believe there is a gray area. And beyond that some things that just fall into opinions. Ultimately, each decision or action must align with the biblical principals lined out in the bible and taken within the context it was intended. Understanding that God does not change, ever. He is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. So back to spiritual maturity. I have really begun to understand that living like Jesus is the absolute best way, and in a great majority of cases one might say, the only way to bring others to Christ. Jesus lived life out loud and on purpose, fully devoted to God, never hiding who he was and never being quiet about it because it was WHO he was and he couldn't be any other way. He wasn't doing anything but being who he was, which was the Son of God. So our lives should be the same. We should live a no holds barred kind of life under the wings of God. We should not hold back speaking of our heavenly Father, but neither should we speak His name trying to convict non believers of wrong doing. IT will be our love for them, a LOVE LIKE HIS, that allows their hearts to become softened as we step out of the way and free JESUS to do a NEW THING in their heart.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
I absolutely LOVE this quote by Katie Davis who is very much living out the gospel. I think it wraps up my ramblings quite nicely:
"We aren't really called to save the world, not even to save one person: Jesus does that. We are just called to love with abandon. We are called to enter into our neighbors sufferings and love them right there.". -Katie Davis

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Little Bit Of Luke...

... and a whole lot of deep breathing for mom! Luke is my daredevil, well... one of my daredevils.
Thankfully he is also a very capable daredevil.
He is the boy who falls into the category of "addicted to the adrenaline rush", and he is always in a much better mood if he gets at least a couple of "rushes" a day.
Sometimes it doesn't take much, just a lot of movement. Other times it takes higher, faster, longer, crazier...
Today though, it was a mild kind of rush. And being the responsible mom that I am, I took pictures!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Spirit Of Joy!

(am I the most pathetic blogger, or what?)

“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”
― Helen Keller

“If you celebrate your differentness, the world will, too. It believes exactly what you tell it—through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself, and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world you are one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy..." ”
― Victoria Moran

“...let joy be unconfined...”
― George Gordon Byron

“It's beauty that captures your attention; personality which captures your heart.”

“Beauty is not caused. It is.”
Emily Dickinson

“Joy is of the will which labours, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph.”
William Butler Yeats

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Heart Beats Are Talking....

You know what has been on my heart lately creating quite a stir? Adoption. Okay, okay I know... this surprises no one.

There are some things about the worlds view of adoption that have got me all fired up lately. More importantly, these things exist in the CHRISTIAN view of adoption. Oh maybe not in an "in your face" kind of way. They tend to exist in an "in the back of your mind" kind of way. They exist because we have never taken them out, and then stomped them to ashes under our feet.

Let's start by tackling family planning and the grace of God. It is at times like this that I wish I was more eloquent in translating my thoughs to the written word. So I pray that I can do justice to what needs to be said. Psalm 127:1 says
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.

I was 25 years old when my 5th biological child was born. Each of my children were beautiful. They were funny, well behaved, and as a whole family we were an eye catcher. Oh my heart (and admittedly my ego as well) would swell as the compliments came flowing in on just what a wonderfully beautiful family I had.

Not once had I ever prayed over whether we should add another/any children to our family. I prayed for a healthy child. But I had adopted the stance that whatever happened, happened. I was a believer and obviously each pregnancy was a gift from God. Afterall, He alone creates/gives life right?

Praise God He is so merciful. Praise God He is so gracious. Praise God He is so giving, He LOVES to give. HE IS LORD. He lavishes love and mercy on us even when we aren't asking for it. He gives grace and creates beauty, the beauty of family all around us, even when we don't ask Him for it.

All 5 of my biological children were a specific blessing, an unparallelled creation/expression of and for God's glory. And in spite of that, I never allowed Him to be a part of it at all. I didn't NEED His help, I just thanked Him for the blessing after the fact.

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain... Ummm, can you say uh-oh? All that beauty, all that happiness, all that love... Was it all in vain? What was I actually doing? What had I ever done? Beauty, happiness, laughter, love... they were all there, and yet there was no room for God's glory.

BUT I believe He knew my heart, my families heart. He knew what would be and He set the stage for His glory to shine. He blessed us, for our faith to come. All the while, child after child, blessing after blessing He continued to fullfill His desire to create a "new thing".

Isaiah43:19 (ESV) See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

Eph. 4: 22-24 (ESV)To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (emphasis mine)

Created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness? Created after the likeness of God? I WANT myself and my family to be created by, for, and to resemble GOD. THAT can ONLY happen IF GOD IS ALLOWED/asked to come in and by His hands specifically do a "NEW THING" in your "house". ! [It is never too late by the way! Obviously this does not only apply to increasing your family size. But for the purpose of this post, that is my focus.]

My husband and I currently have 10 children. Our oldest 5 biological children, and our youngest 5 who were adopted. Words can not describe how beautiful I think my family is. It is a family specifically created by God, and sometimes all I can do is look on in awe as His glory is revealed over and over in the intimate care He has taken with building it for HIS GLORY. I do not want to ever again "labor in vain". May God build my house with His own two hands! All earthly creations pale in comparison to His. HIS take my breath away each morning! My prayer is that all of you get breathless in the face of God's creation of your family!

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Eph. 1:5 / NLT)

God decided to adopt us! It is what HE WANTED and it gave Him GREAT PLEASURE! WOW. Seriously, do you feel that WOW? He specifically wanted YOU! He specifically wanted ME! He not only wanted it, but His heart was on fire for us! He did it because He couldn't help himself! He loves us and takes great pleasure in claiming us as HIS!

I believe everybody wants to matter. Everybody wants to be somebodies JOY! If you are a believer, if you have confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9), and if you have admitted that you have sins that need forgiven (Romans 6:23)... You are a SON OF GOD! You are HIS JOY!

"Son of God" you say? Russell Moore talks about being "adopted as Sons" in His book "Adopted For Life". Not to sidetrack, but if you haven't read it, I insist that it is a MUST READ! Now, as for adoption as sons, what about us girls? This is so cool! In the time period of which this verse was written, oldest sons inherited the fortune. They were the favored, the most important. He is adopting us equally. As oldest Sons. We are inheriting the fortune. We are the favored! Each one of us! Now tell me that is not a beautiful thing!

God gave us the "perfect model" of what adoption is? FULLY INCLUSIVE OF ALL THE BENEFITS OF BIOLOGICAL FAMILY! ALL family is created by the hands of GOD. Adoption is no exception. In the family of God, it does not matter how a family is formed, what matters is that GOD formed it with the intimate, overwhelming pleasure in His heart!

So to the second stirring of my heart, adoption isn't and should never be considered a second best option! It isn't something you do just because you can't have a biological child! Sometimes God uses infertility as a way to direct you down the path He desires for you to go, or He uses it to grow your faith and start the stretching process.

I have not dealt with the heartbreak of wanting to start my family, only to find out that infertility was coming into play. I have friends and family who have, and the sadness and emotions that accompany that realization is tremendous. I am not criticizing the continued desire for pregnancy and giving birth. I am just stating that adopting isn't an "only if we can't have our own children" kind of option. In fact, I would say if that is how you feel do not adopt! But infertility can be a catalyst for tearing down barriers. It can kick start an amazing journey.

When we adopted the first time we received many comments to the point of "Why couldn't we just be happy with the children we had?" "Shouldn't you let people who can't have "kids of their own" adopt?" "Why do you need more than 5 kids?" and so on and so on.

To share some of God's intense desire to do a new thing in our family, after child number 5 I could no longer have biological children. That is such a huge praise for me now. I might never have stepped into the challenging journey of adoption if the "easier option" of giving birth had been available. So yes, PRAISE GOD that that door was closed!

After that first adoption, I grew so much in my faith! It all started to "click". No longer was I seeking to just grow our good little family and celebrate the joy of an adorable little baby once again. Instead I prayed to be the hands and feet of Jesus. How I cringe when I think back to when child rearing, bearing and adoption was all about me and creating what I wanted! I want to live out of God's will, I want to be a mom to God's glory, I want to be breathless! I told God He had my YES, and just to point me in the right direction!

I have never regretted it! He is so much greater! His imagination so much grander! His love so much more intense! His idea of family so much broader, so much more specific, so much more perfect!! The boundaries of this world weild no power over HIS declaration and creation of family! How could I ever say NO to that!??? How can you?

Pray that God takes your breath away as HE reveals His plan for growing your family! Pray that He is the one to build your house!

Lastly, I want to touch on international and transracial adoption. Oh my goodness, you may well be amazed at the number of people who have intense opinions on these things. Opinions usually not based on fact, but just spur of the moment reactions. Along with the opinion of if these things are in any way acceptable, there are also the comments that come across as abrasive, tacky, and down right rude.

It amazes me that anyone who is not legally a part of the process would think to play God to such a degree as to state that this child or that child should not be joining a family. As if God is bound in anyway by things like distance, race, culture, money, time, or numbers?

Today I read Acts 17: 26-28a. Let me write a disclaimer that I am definitely NOT a theologian. But I do admit when I read this verse I wanted to pump my fist like Arsenio Hall and go "wah, wah, wah!" (hope I'm not showing my age there :)).

26 From one human being he created all races of people and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live.27 He did this so that they would look for him, and perhaps find him as they felt around for him. Yet God is actually not far from any one of us;28a as someone has said,

In him we live and move and exist. (from the Good News Translation)

He created all races of people and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would livE?? Did you catch that? HE CREATED, HE SPREAD THEM THROUGHOUT THE EARTH, HE FIXED BEFORE HAND THE EXACT TIMES AND HE DECIDED THE BOUNDARIES OF WHERE THEY WOULD LIVE!

This child in Romania would come to live in the United States, this child in Ghana would come to live in the United States, this child in Bulgaria would come to live in Sweden, this child in Ukraine would come to live in France. He knows when, who, where, and how each child joins their family.

He has a specific reason for what He does. He did this so that they would look for him, and perhaps find him as they felt around for him If God knows it and has ordained it, you can bet He has an incredible reason for doing so! Do you really want to stand before Him one day and question it? Is any explanation even needed?

And if He ordains it and sets it into motion, ..God is actually not far from any one of us... In him we live and move and exist. HE IS THERE, in the midst of it all!

What a beautiful verse. I am a woman, and maybe that is why I am a sucker for romance and tender love. I admit, I LOVE witnessing the details of Gods heart as He places a child through adoption into a forever family! I love seeing a couple welcome a child through birth. It is all amazing, and makes my heart overflow with JOY.

Adoption really is so much bigger than you and I! Family is so much bigger than the boundaries that the world would place around it!

So once again, my prayer for you as you walk away from this post is that you would allow God to make you breathless as you watch HIS plans and heart unfold in the context of HIS plans for your family!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Want to know what really sucks.....?

It sucks when you have those days where you realize that even though your almost 9 year old daughter has been out of the orphanage and in a loving family for 1 1/2 years, she would fit right back in like she never left if she was placed back there. Yes, that really sucks :(