Ok, so many of you have "Thankful Thursday" but I'm going to dare to be different and have a "Thankful Friday". No better way to face life's challenges than to ponder on the things we are most grateful for. With a house full of sick ones all week it's been a challenging week needless to say, so what better way to shift my attention upwards than to list a few things that I'm thankful for. Here goes:
1. I'm so grateful for my Father who has adopted me. He chose me before the foundations of the world were laid. He also loves me not just for who I am but also in spite of who I am. What perfect love! Praise God for ADOPTION!!!
2. These days I have to say we don't take much for granted. I am so thankful that I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach and clothes on my back. I've always thought that I was thankful for these simple things but let me tell you... I AM SO THANKFUL FOR THESE THINGS!!!
3. I am truly humbled by the generous friends that God has brought into our lives. I have learned so much these last couple of months simply watching them respond to our situation.
We may not have the biggest bank account in town but we are most certainly among the richest. Thank you Jesus.
It's tough being a woman! Talk about an understatement. There is the role of wife, mother, daughter, friend, encourager, comforter, teacher, chef, CFO, COO and the list goes on. You ladies know what I'm talking about. How do we balance all these hats and to do it with class and dignity. You know, have it all together.
With this great juggling act that I'm trying to maintain Satan loves to toss in this big, hard to juggle, object that has me struggling not to drop each an every ball that I'm trying so delicately to manage. This big, ugly object is fear. Fear of an uncertain future, fear that our Emma will never come home from China, fear that we won't be able to have another biological child, fear that we aren't teaching our son the most important things about God and life. Fear about being older parents and not being around for our children or grandchildren and the list goes on.
Fear is one of Satan's most powerful weapons in his arsenal. It is crippling. It's paralyzing. I'm here today to be as transparent as I can and say this is the fight I'm currently in. Thank God that He has me in the Beth Moore study of the wonderful book of Esther. Esther is such a wonderful role model for woman. And you talk about fear, can you imagine the fear that surely crept into Esther as she became aware of the royal edict that had been issued to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews. What about the weight of the responsibility to step up and take action and try to save her people. The fear of going before the king uninvited, knowing that unless he extends his golden scepter she would be put to death.
As part of Beth's study she has given several scenarios and one is "It's tough being a woman in the tight fist of fear." Can you say "Amen". However, Isaiah 49:16a says, "Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands." What love and I praise God for His perfect love. The God of the universe loves me so much that He has called me to these roles that I juggle. I was never meant to juggle these roles on my own but I can only keep all the balls in the air if I allow the juggle Master to work in and through me. I'm so thankful that He who began a good work in me will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Let me close with a quote from Beth, "Every time you're in a tight fist of fear, remember you're in something much tighter."
07/28/2003 Matt listened to Stephen Curtis Chapman on Family Life Today
07/29/2003 Shawna tuned in to day 2 of Family Life Today
10/11/2003 Attended the “If You Were Mine” adoption workshop in Brentwood, TN
10/11/2003 God conceived in our hearts our daughter from China
02/2004 Found out we were pregnant with Eli ~ adoption on but on hold
07/2005 Sent in Pre-Application to Bethany Christian Services ~ was told by Bethany we should wait another year
07/22/2005 Mailed Bethany a letter stating why we believed God had said “Now is the time”, along with our financial statements
08/22/2005 Mailed official Adoption Application, auto-biographies, other Bethany forms, and the first check of many
10/11/2005 Criminal History Report request mailed off to the state of Indiana
11/07/2005 Passports issued
11/14/2005 Submitted our I-600 to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services
12/27/2005 Home study complete
03/15/2006 Fingerprint appointment in Indianapolis
04/03/2006 Dossier completed and submitted to Bethany
05/04/2006 Dossier mailed from Bethany, Grand Rapids, to China
05/11/2006 Dossier received by China ~ LID
07/2007 Second set of fingerprints done in Indianapolis
07/25/2008 Felt the Lord calling us to enter the COP program
07/25/2008 Sent off for Eli’s passport
07/26/2008 Began to doubt God’s calling to adopt ~ sought out council and was encouraged to look back and identify times we were certain we heard God and saw God work and then to cling to those movements
07/28/2008 Third social worker comes to update our home study to reflect our new house
07/30/2008 Third set of fingerprints done in Louisville
11/14/2008 I-600A Refile
02/09/2009 I-600A Refile
08/27/2009 Fourth set of fingerprints done in Louisville
06/14/2010 I-600A Refile
09/10/2010 5th set of fingerprints done in Louisville
11/06/2010 Home Study Update
5/25/2010 Ethan Blaine was born
08/06/2010 Went "on hold" due to the birth of our 2nd child
01/21/2010 Letter to request to be taken off hold was mailed to China