~The Journey ~

Sometimes, it feels that dreams are so far in the distance…the steps that are taken seem to be in the wrong direction toward that journey.  But, God works in different ways than our minds can fathom.  He knows our hearts and leads us on this path, this journey…but the steps aren’t always in a linear path.  Often, they stop in different places then we imagine…as our hearts conform to His plan and His desires.  I know my dreams still wait for me in the future, I know the goals He has set before me.  As He refines those dreams, and conforms my heart, I know I am actually still taking steps toward them and am learning to really enjoy His presence and fall in love with His heart in the journey.

I am learning to find Him in each moment around me…sweet gifts He wants me to unwrap and unfold and enjoy.  Some moments, those gifts cannot be seen around me, but are within…His presence dwelling within me.  I am learning to SEE Him in everything.  This is my greatest gift right now.

Little Hannah Grace was my gift to enjoy the past few days.  Her soft, beautiful voice, tender touch, precious cuddles, her sweetness and grace…she is so beautiful to me….a gift I could never imagine on my own…that has been given to me by His grace.

My mind is returning to the present…my dreams are being continually set aside, and I am focused on unwrapping and enjoying the gifts He has planned for me today 🙂

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Sweet dreams laid down at His feet, to press into Him further.

I wrote this page awhile back on my blog as God was igniting a passion in my heart once again for Africa.  I sought and sought and sought Him with it…and felt often encouraged and prompted to not give up…but the past year, I felt God has slowly and continually asked me to lay it down at His feet—indefinitely, I don’t know, and why, I don’t fully understand, but I do know that as I lay down my passions, my dreams, my longings–at His feet, I am able to really press into who HE is…and not who I am.  I have often thought of myself too much in terms of the excitement and accomplishments (and failures) of my past, and my dreams and longings for the future.  God is redefining my identity and showing me HIS.  My life is not my own and I am letting go of ME, and pursuing more further who I am in Him.  I am pursuing my first and foremost calling right now, to love Him fully, with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength–no matter what my future holds.  I want to enjoy Him fully…and right now, that means laying everything aside to rest in who HE is.  It’s unknown territory for me!  I am a huge planner and love direction and focus and spend much time thinking about the future.  But, right now, God is asking me to press into Him daily without seeking the future or setting my heart on anything but Him.  I am already feeling much JOY returning to my soul.
Africa:
(Originally written 7 NOV 2011):

Beautiful African Sunset

“Africa, Hot, Hot Africa”…..these words were the first three words to a poem I wrote when I was 9 years old.  Africa was always on my mind growing up.  For no apparent reason!  I hadn’t been there.  I didn’t know anyone who lived there.  I was in LOVE with Africa.  I would sing songs about it.  I would write poems about it.  I wanted to GO there as a young child.

When I was a teenager, I decided I was going to go to the Congo to take care of the gorrillas there.  After reading Diane Fossey’s book about the Congo and the plight of the Gorillas, I was determined to go continue her work and save them…..

When I was in my senior year, my DREAM came true.  My sweet parents found out about an opportunity with the Army to move to South Africa for my dad to attend the war college there.  He took the opportunity.  They came to me to ask me what I wanted to do, sensitive to my desires as a senior in high school.  They tried to figure out any sort of scenario they could for me to stay where we were in Skaneateles, NY or to go live with my grandma in North Carolina and finish school in the states with her…or go with them halfway through my senior year to South Africa.  There was NO hesitation on my part!  They smiled of course because I think they knew what I would choose 🙂  They made my dreams come true and GOD fulfilled a longing growing in my heart.

My time in Africa was AMAZING.  I left Africa, very sadly, and my parents, to go to college at the United States Military Academy (which was a really neat opportunity too!).  Ever since I left….Africa has never left my mind.  I have prayed the desire away…because it didn’t seem practical.  What would I do?  Once I met my husband, I sort of put Africa out of my mind even further.  BUT….it never goes away.  My husband doesn’t feel the same way I do about Africa (yet 😉 ) and is not quite sure where he fits in the whole picture.  So, I thought maybe it best to forget about it for a little while again. BUT, I cannot forget!  I cannot pray it away!  My prayer has been that if it is not from the Lord, that He take it away.  The desire STILL grows in my heart.  This is one of the things for which I am longing.  Last night, as I prayed about it once again…God gave me a partial glimpse of the future and where Brian may fit in the whole picture.  I told Brian last night that I think I may know where he fits…it was about 1130pm and he was drifting off to sleep…so he said, “uh huh.”  …God has BIG plans for him there!  I just know it!  Right now…he is thinking maybe a war lord….(:-) ).  For those of you who don’t know my husband…he is a leader and a warrior.  I cannot wait to see God’s plan for us in Africa.

I felt it in my heart to start thinking about Africa once again.  AND to write about it.  It is time.  Perhaps just around the bend God will SHOW us our calling.  We are praying.  We are seeking.  Show us glimpses of your plan Lord!  Would you pray along with us? As for RIGHT now, God has put in our life an amazing family who are to be missionaries to Africa.  Everywhere I go, we meet people from Africa, who love Africa, or with African babies.  It gets ridiculous sometimes!  I find so much in common with them.  We are so excited to see God’s plan unfold for this family, to see Africa through their eyes, and to wait upon His calling for our family as well. To be continued…..

A dream released to His hands, safely held and fully attended to :-)

I wrote this following page on my blog awhile back and God has brought my heart back to it quite a few times lately…but this time, He’s asked me to lay it down to rest–indefinitely, I don’t know, only He does…but I know it is for my good and that His plan is perfect.  I think the desire will always be there, but I know this dream is fully released to His hands now and safely held and that He is fully attentive to it and that it is well attended to.  Knowing it is in God’s hands…and not mine, puts my heart to rest.  There is no particular reason why I feel I must lay it to rest…but the prompting of His spirit to lay it to rest and give it to Him.  I feel much peace and joy in this…still unsure of what the future brings, but content that my future, as well, is in His hands.  Everything is really, but it’s just a matter of what I am willing to acknowledge is His and what I strive to hold on to.

ADOPTION:

(Originally written Christmas 2011):

When I was a very little girl, I think around 8, I was talking to my parents about adoption.  I declared to them that I was going to adopt a Japanese baby.  At least this is what they told me once upon a time and I vaguely remember the specific conversation!  BUT, what I do remember is that for as long as I can even remember, I have wanted to adopt.  First, it was a Japanese baby, then a Chinese baby, and then when we went to Korea, I was sure it would be a Korean baby!  Apparently, it must be an Asian baby.  I could barely leave Korea without taking a little Korean baby with us.  It was very strange timing for us, because the desire peaked when I was pregnant with our little girl, Hannah.  I was delivering in a Korean hospital and I saw Korean babies everywhere.  They thought my baby was adorable (and so did I of course!), but I thought their babies were irresistable too!  As I got onto the plane to leave Korea (about 1 year ago), I wondered if we would be back.  I wondered if we would ever have that little Asian baby.  However, it simply was not the right timing for us.  And it still is not!  Again, this is another thing I am longing for right now.  I am praying for clarity and God’s specific calling for our family concerning adoption.  We know we are to support orphans, widows, the poor, and suffering.  There are many ways to support!  And God moves our hearts in all sorts of beautiful ways.  But, not everyone is called to adopt (and that is ok!).  God calls.  We answer.  It is about HIS calling…and has very little to do with us.  The question for our family is a question of calling.  Is this our calling?  There are many reasons God puts things on our hearts and they don’t always look like we think.

We are submitting to the Lord’s plan for our family concerning adoption.  We have surrendered the desire and it is in HIS hands and HIS timing.  It may be a call to support orphans–financially, with our time, with our love (visiting orphanages), with all sorts of resources…even just supporting other families who have/are adopting–through meals, prayers, support, understanding, etc.  There are so many ways to fulfill the call to take care of orphans!  I am wondering if our family is one in which the Lord will choose to adopt an orphan (or several!) into our home.  The desire is there.  We are praying for unity, clarity, preparation of our hearts (I cannot even imagine how hard it will be and totally life changing), support, and absolute certainty.  He will show us our child.  He will pick him/her out for us.  He will prepare our hearts specifically for this child.  And He will tell us: IT IS TIME.  For now, we will surrender, pray, and wait.

There are so many reasons I want to adopt…BUT, the greatest reason is because I am SO thankful to be adopted into the family of God, through Jesus Christ, His Son (who was also adopted by Joseph and Mary into his earthly family!), and thankful for the amazing love that He has poured out into my life.  I want to pour that love out on a little orphan.  I love children. God has given me a big heart for them.  I want God’s love to flow through us to let this child know the DEPTH of His love for him/her.  And I think our family would be perfect for it!

God is sovereign.  He knows what we can handle.  His plan for our life is MUCH better than we could ever imagine.  He may have a plan for us to adopt.  He may not.  But, HIS plan is PERFECT and BIG and we cannot wait to see what HE has planned for us!  Living within His will for our lives will bring perfect peace.  He knows our hearts.  He knows our desires.  He put the Godly ones there and if He so chooses, He will bring them into fruition.  Praise be to Him, the Perfect Father in Heaven!  He is the Father of all orphans–of all His children!

Below are some verses in the Word that have spoken so powerfully to me.  Verses for us to pray over and to be thankful for.  Verses that tug at my heart every day and call out to my Spirit.  May we answer whatever calling He has for our lives.  God will call every member of our family.  There will be perfect unity, timing, and peace and He will set before us His plan.  We cannot wait to see what it is!

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
For  ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear;
but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;
if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
Romans 8:15-17 (KJV)


“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God”
John 1:12 (NIV)


“Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons,
the redemption of our bodies”
Romans 8:23 (NIV)


“Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory,
the covenants, the receiving of the law,
the temple worship and the promises.”
Romans 9:4 (NIV)


“He predestined us to be adopted as his sons
through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—”
Ephesians 1:5 (NIV)


“To redeem them that were under the law,
that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
Galatians 4:5 (KJV)

While I’m waiting…

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Takeing every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve you while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

–John Waller’s song: While I’m waiting

This song has played so many times for us along with “Strength will Rise as we wait Upon the Lord”….I know we are in the waiting phase…waiting to hear from Him…waiting for many different strings of God’s plans to come together in our lives to ALL MAKE SENSE!  I long for that.  I long for it all to make sense.  But, I know it will.  And I am so thankful to be able to worship HIM and serve HIM while I wait.  It is making me fall more and more in love with HIM…above all else.

Awaken Our Hearts…

Nothing can tear us from
The grip of His mighty love
We’ve only glimpsed,
His vast affection
Heard whispers of, His heart and passion
It’s pouring
out…

His love is deep, His love is wide
And it covers us
His
love is fierce, His love is strong
It is furious
His love is sweet, His
love is wild
And
it’s waking hearts to life

The Father loves and sends His son
The Son
lays down His life for all
He lavishes His love upon us
He calls us now,
His sons and daughters
He’s reaching out…

… and its waking hearts
to life
He is waking hearts to life
He is waking hearts to life

-song by Jeremy Riddle

—-

God is awakening our hearts from much discouragement lately.

The Lord is speaking to me often through songs lately.  My heart will be in a certain place and for three days in a row, God has brought forth a song every day to match my sentiments exactly.  He really does know my heart and my thoughts so very well!

Lately, my heart has been confused and learning to be longsuffering and patient.  God is teaching us FAITH.  In perfect time, Lewis’ verse to memorize this week is about faith.  It is “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  (Hebrews 11:1 I think 🙂 )  And the second part is: Faith: I will believe and act on God’s promises.  I told him that I would randomly shout out “Faith!” And he would have to shout back, with confidence, the other part.  He did really well and was really excited.  I love it when the things I am teaching fall on attentive and responsive ears 🙂  It was a perfect verse for me to teach him because I was really needing to be reminded of it as well.

Doubt is a temptation when the things we think we have been called to just don’t look like they are happening.  It really tempts me to question my understanding of His voice to me.  You see, I waiver between never wanting to be too sure of myself…and having confidence in God’s promises or Word to me.  It’s a tough one.  This is the case in so many areas of my life right now.  God is calling…and my heart is willing…but I just don’t know if the steps I am taking are the right steps or if I am hearing His voice correctly.

The last few days have been a bit dark in the sense of feeling His spirit depart…and being left to have that faith.  I have come to the point in my spiritual life where I can sense when God’s spirit is with me and when it isn’t.  I woke up today and it wasn’t.  I prayed and confessed and read in my quiet time…nothing.  I continued to pray throughout the day and His song was upon my lips.  I was delighted to get my sleepy kiddies out of bed and smell their sweet, sweet smell.  They were full of sweetness and giggles this morning and it was God’s loving gift to me on a dark day.  On days when I am confessing my sin to the best of my knowledge…and still no sense of the Spirit being present…that is when I know the Lord is testing my faith.  I often think of Mother Theresa when I am having these days.  She, surprisingly lived in much darkness, as the Lord had called her away from a life of unity with Him, to a life of faith in darkness…to serve a people who lived in the dark.  I cannot imagine that.  She lived a life of faith in that darkness.  What a testimony.  That is true faith.

I want to have that faith right now….in the midst of a season of much longing and waiting.  God is continually telling me to persevere…and that He will fulfill the dreams He has put on my heart.  When I look around, virtually none of the things that He’s promised me are coming true.  He continually is encouraging me…but often I doubt.  It is so hard.  This is the time to have that faith….my dreams are being purified.  My faith tested.  And on the other side of the refiner’s fire…I hope to be that much more faithful…and that much stronger in my faith and trust in Him.  May my expectation and confidence be in Him.  He is the source of all my joy, dreams, and hope.  And I know HE will fulfill them in the most beautiful way in the most perfect time.  To Him be all the Glory, Amen and Amen.

A captain (___) with seven children….what’s so fearsome about that?

I have confidence in the Lord Almighty ALONE!!!

What will this day be like? I wonder

What will my future be? I wonder

It could be so exciting To be out in the world To be free

My heart should be wildly rejoicing

Oh whats the matter with me?
I`ve always longed for adventure

To do the things I`ve never dared

Now here i`m facing adventure Then why am I so scared?

Captain with seven children Whats so fearsome about that?
Oh I must stop all these doubts All these worries If I don`t i just know i`ll turn back

I must dream of the things I am seeking I am seeking the courage I lack
The courage to serve them with reliance

Face my mistakes without defiance

Show them I`m worthy

And while I show them I`ll show me!

So! Let them bring me all their problems

I`ll do better than my best

I have confidence They`ll put me to the test

But I`ll make them see I have confidence in me
Somehow I will impress them

I will be firm but kind

And all those children Heaven bless them They will look up to me And mind me
With each step I am more certain

Everything will turn out fine

I have confidence the world can all be mine

They`ll have to agree I have confidence in me
I have confidence in sunshine

I have confidence in rain

I have confidence that spring will come again

Besides what you see I have confidence in me!
Strength doesn`t lie in numbers

Strength doesn`t lie in wealth

Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumber

When you wake up Wake up!
All I trust I give my heart to

All I trust becomes my own

I have confidence In confidence alone

O help…Besides what you see, I have confidence in me…..

——–

As my son asked me to go to the playground tonight, after a long day with my sweet hubby away in a tough 2 week rotation to the field right now, I started to sing this song on our way…and envisioned our home with as many children as God may bless us with…and everything went really well until Hannah picked up dog poopie all the way to the playground…refused to hold my hand, walk, be held, and refused to cooperate in any reasonable way…we did make it to the playground though…and there she found more poopie to play with, ran towards the road away from the playground multiple times, and then my son looked at me and said “Mommy, it’s hot, can we go home now?”  I don’t think we were even there for 5 minutes….but as I go to bed tonight, regardless of the miniscule frustrations my sweet little ones give me every now and then…I simply cannot imagine our home with anything but a houseful of children 🙂   The Sound of Music, Little House on the Prairie, Little Women, Little Orphan Annie, Sherley Temple, Anne of Green Gables, the Waltons, and I Love Lucy were some of my favorite movies/shows/books to watch/read growing up….I’ll never outgrow them.