anything to do with anything

there is a lot about God that i don't understand. a lot. especially since i choose dishes over table theology conversations any day of the week. but sometimes, i wish i could understand just a bit more.

here's where we stand...our estimated travel departure date is january 6. that's right. definitely not before christmas! and the general response has been, "that's okay, you can celebrate twice, it's only a few weeks difference, etc., etc." and i get all that. in fact, i could make a decent list on why january would be better for us.

however, i am not ready to write God's miraculous hand out of the picture. i mean, we have been praying for a miracle, right? so wouldn't it make sense that our estimated travel dates would be in january? if the agency had told us we were traveling in december, there would be nothing miraculous. i have been able to sleep on it and i still feel the same - God is burdening me to keep praying for a miracle. it is clear that he is saying, "keep asking, keep asking, keep asking and expecting."

and here's where it all gets confusing for me. the more i pray, the more he hears? can i influence him with my prayers? it seems like he knows what he is going to do, and he knows my prayer, so why keep praying? and yet i know the stories of the Bible where men and women of God keep asking over and over and over. and it seems like God hears those prayers. so i don't know - i clearly cannot explain it all (although i am quite sure that the men in my life could discuss it for hours after thanksgiving dinner though they get absolutely nowhere...whatever...i'll take the dishes)

it's a vulnerable place to me. sticking myself out on a limb (when clearly other people are not even climbing the tree!) asking for something so ridiculous. my mind shifts from "this is going to be so awesome because God is going to do something huge and no one is going to be able to deny it!" to "i can't believe i am still talking about a miracle. how foolish am i going to look in a couple of months." i don't know, i am just not ready to settle for january yet. maybe that is God's plan for us, and if so i will embrace that and look forward to january! but what a mistake for me to simply assume God doesn't want to do something miraculous.

so, i'm still praying for december. more than that, i'm praying for God's best. but if my prayers have anything to do with anything, then i am going to keep praying for a miracle.



we were discussing in our small group last week what brings us to greater faith - relationships, circumstances, private disciplines, or service opportunities. without even having to put much thought into it, my answer was circumstances. pivotal circumstances that God uses to grow my faith.

we are in the middle of one of those.

faith. believing that God is going to do something.

money...we started with NOTHING for this adoption. God has provided and continues to provide. as we get closer and closer to traveling the big chunks of money are coming due and some of the estimations we have been working with look like they are going to be low. do i think God knew that? yes. do i think God is going to provide? yes. i would have to agree with eric, "i can say with almost more faith than i have ever had before, God is going to provide the money."

a little girl...we started into this special needs adoption knowing that we could not
adequately care for a child with huge medical needs. we knew God was leading us to pursue a special needs adoption but were stepping out in faith, believing God would choose the perfect little girl for our family. no, we haven't had sarahjoy all checked out by the doctors in america, but we are trusting that God knows every little thing in her body and he has not sent us more than we can handle. in our imaginings we dreamed of a little girl who was two years old, had a minor heart defect, was potty trained and sleeping through the night! nothing like asking for specifics. well, i think God might have seen fit to give us our heart's desire.

timing...we're still holding on to faith for this one. we desperately want to have our little girl home for christmas. is it a big deal? well, no, not in the scope of terrorist attacks and earthquakes. but she is our little girl. and i can't imagine celebrating without her. just imagine if you had to send one of your kids away for christmas (which i realize some of you know this pain far more personally due to family situations). it hurts and no one would ever wish that on someone else. bottom line, we are holding on to faith that God would bring us our little girl soon.

when we started this journey the word 'faithful' kept ringing in my head. in fact, i tried to find the chinese word for faithful as i thought we might name our little girl that. clearly God had a plan, which he knew far before we mailed the first set of documents. he has used this journey to build in us a faith far greater than what we had when we started. and hopefully, he is using it to build a faith in others. maybe even using sarahjoy's story to bring someone to a saving faith.

we're holding on. we have our first phone conference with our agency and our traveling partners (2 other couples) on wednesday. we should find out all sorts of fun stuff including...............our estimated travel dates.

sweet sarahjoy,
we love you more than you can even dream of.
your room is ready.
your clothes are laid out.
your sisters can hardly stand themselves.
your brothers are loading their guns to protect you.
your daddy can't wait to love you.
and i, think about you every minute of the day.

you are our daughter, our sister, our niece, our granddaughter.

we can't wait to celebrate God's faithfulness on christmas eve.
with tears running down our cheeks.
holding the very evidence of God's faithfulness.

i love you.



woo hoo!!!!!

a very quick update...WE HEARD FROM CHINA TODAY!!!!!

what does this mean? we have officially been approved by the chinese government. just a couple more hoops and we will be there holding sarahjoy. the time estimate given to us for travel is 3 - 3 1/2 months from today. which puts us squarely in the MIRACLE category for being home before christmas! and, well, i sort of like being in the need-a-miracle category!

please pray with us for a christmas miracle!!!!! (and a massive, unbelievable heat wave for inner mongolia!)

it's off to bed with happy hearts and more prayers than ever to hold our little girl during the christmas eve service!



a note

eric and i wanted to take a minute to try and communicate to you our incredible gratitude for traveling this adoption journey with us. no, the journey isn't over - and in many ways we are in the hardest part - but we are so thankful for you. the last few weeks have brought a flurry of generous giving to us and we now stand just a mere $2655 from our goal. it is absolutely unbelievable how God has used you to bring home our little girl. and more than the practical side of paying the bills to get her home, you all have spoken God's heart to us and assured us beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are walking His path for our family.

thank you so much. our prayers have been that each of you who have given to us would be blessed 100-fold. that you would be able to experience the joy that God promises when we give sacrificially. you all have been the picture of the gospel to us.

we are still waiting for sarahjoy. we are "supposed to" hear from china before september 23rd. of course, that "supposed to" is merely based on past averages and not on anything guaranteed. so we are praying fervently and all the while trying to hold loosely to expectations. once we hear from china, we file with U.S. immigration (this time to bring a specific orphan home as opposed to the last time we filed to just bring an orphan home!), and then we receive yet another approval from china to travel. all of that is "supposed to" go rather quickly but again...there's that phrase that means almost nothing in international adoption.

my heart is aching these days. my little girl is so close to being home, and yet so far away. there is absolutely nothing i can do to get her here. it is between a bunch of people sitting in a government office in china, another bunch of people sitting in an office in the U.S. and our big and mighty God who i know is in charge of both of those offices - although these past few weeks it has been hard to embrace God's sovereignty over it all. if i am honest, the mama bear has come alive and i. want. my. baby. home.

if God lays it on your heart, please pray fervently for our little girl to come home. we are still praying for a miracle for her to be with our family for Christmas. we need God to move. my little girl is being loved on by someone other than me - for which i am grateful - but i want to hold her so bad my body hurts. she needs to be with her mommy and daddy.

thank you for being our friends. your generosity to us has been astounding. your support is unbelievable. thank you, thank you from the deepest part of our hearts. we absolutely could not do this without you.



well, the time keeps marching on and we have not heard from china yet. we were told we could expect to hear from them before september 23rd...which is one week from today. i, of course, had hoped it would not be the DAY before september 23rd. maybe like a few WEEKS before the 23rd.

and hearing from china is one of the final steps before travel dates get set. so everyday that my inbox is lonely...is one day that makes travel farther away.

BUT...i think maybe God is just going to make this a miracle that no one can argue with. it would be easy to travel in december if we got our LOA (china's paper) a month ago. but now...it's going to be close. so why not take 'close' and make it 'miraculous'. that would go along with our theme. and lord knows my mother-in-law is seriously into themes.

so we are still waiting. nothing has changed. EXCEPT.....................

we are $3600 from our goal!!!!!

seriously. with the exception of about $1000 coming in from our fundraisers at chili's and our garage sale, we have been handed almost $25,000 from friends and family. THAT IS A MIRACLE.

and while i want to be frustrated at the wait, and i would by lying if i didn't admit that i am frustrated at times i can't deny that God is in the midst of this. he has got sarahjoy in the palm of his hand and he will bring us to her at the perfect time. of course, i think that flying home on december 23rd would be awesome (hmmmmmmmmm...maybe i need to get a christmas dress for the little pea! ooohhh....matching christmas dresses for all the girls!!!), who knows what God wants.

the balance between being open to God's plan and praying with faith for what seems like is a promise from God. it's hard to comprehend, much less carry out. where's that wheaton education when i need it?

please keep praying.
pray for a peace in my heart that is not there right now as i type this. i am saying truth to you and truth to myself, but i don't feel it.

pray for sweet sarahjoy (aka barbara quincy...i.e. mongolian bbq...) pray that she is getting miraculous food portions and miraculous love

pray for china's government. that God would move them to get our file up and out of there!!!!

pray for the remaining $3600 we need. God is going to provide.

and i am realizing now that i don't think i have ever posted pictures. could that be right? horrors. i need to do that. cause she is super cute. : )