Friday, April 29, 2011

Blessings Abound

When I first chose the title for this blog I was overcome by the blessings from the Lord throughout our lives but specifically in the gift of marriage he had given us, which was soon followed by the blessing of Brece. I think that "Blessings Abound" may be about to take on a whole new meaning in our lives...

Many of you already know that Luke and I have felt the Lord calling us to care for kids in foster care. We had talked about our desire to adopt children before we were even married, but last fall the Lord really started to place a burden on our hearts and we started specifically praying that the Lord would reveal his will and timing for us in this. The more we prayed about it the more the Lord confirmed in our hearts that he wanted us to care for children who are in the foster care system. There are so many scriptures and thoughts that we've had over the past several months...I'd like to share just a few of them with you.

I think one of the most compelling reasons for our desire to adopt children is that the Lord has adopted us  into his family. And he did not adopt us as his children because we had anything to offer him...we were dead in sin, his enemies...yet he called us to himself and redeemed us.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace
with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
~Ephesians 1:3-6

Luke and I both feel very blessed to have been born to families that loved us and cared for us from the time we were born. Neither of us experienced much loss or heartbreak as children and we both were surrounded by families and extended families that poured a lot of love into our lives. I recently reflected on this as I read the parable of the talents and that to whom much is given much is expected. Who are we to keep these blessings to ourselves. The Lord has abundantly blessed us and it is out of this abundance that we hope we can give to the children he brings into our lives.

The Scriptures are also very clear (James 1:27) about the church's responsibility to care for the orphans. We believe that as God's family we are all called to care for the orphan but that this looks different for different people. Over the past several months the Lord has continued to burden our hearts to specifically care for and/or adopt children in foster care. We had to take some classes this winter to prepare to do foster care and one thing that we were really struck was the responsibility that foster parents have, not only to the children in their home, but to the birth parents as well. We have been talking for a long time about what it means to minister to those that are hurting. We've been involved in different ministries or donated to different things, and while those things are all very good, it can allow us to keep a certain distance from those that are hurting. We feel that the Lord calls us to enter into a relationship with those that are hurting, walk alongside of them, and invite them into our home. It is our hope and prayer that we will be able to do this with the families the Lord brings into our home.

We know that this will be a difficult road at times with many unexpected challenges. But it is our prayer, that by God's grace we will learn to love these children and their families well and surrender ourselves to his will. We know that many of these children have been hurt deeply and it is our prayer that the Lord will bring healing to their broken lives and hearts. It is only in Him that we are all redeemed and healed. As I recently read Brece the story of David and Goliath I was struck by the verse "for the battle is the Lord's"...we enter into this with the confidence that this is his battle and he will heal the brokenhearted. We pray that we can give all of ourselves to him and that he will work through us for His glory alone. I heard this song (scroll to the bottom of the blog post from the link to play it) on the radio yesterday and I think it really sums up what we're feeling right now...we definitely have fears about what may come but our prayer is that we will not build walls to protect ourselves but rather we will love God's precious children recklessly and that we will learn to trust in the Lord, empty ourselves to him, and know that he is the one who will bring healing to all of us.

Finally, we are claiming this Scripture as a prayer for the families the Lord brings into our lives as we enter into what we believe God has called us to do...

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.'
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry 
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.
~Isaiah 58:6-12

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We {HEART} Our Cousins

In the last 2 weeks Brece has gotten to spend time with all 3 of her cousins. Much fun was had by all! Sure makes us wish we all lived closer and could see them more often!
Brece & Josiah enjoyed hunting for eggs...well, Josiah enjoyed hunting for eggs & Brece had fun walking around with her basket looking at various things in the yard.
video
Dance party to "Wheels on the Bus"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Celebration!

I passed my oral comprehensive exam last week for my Master's degree (what a relief!). We celebrated with the Hollands by going out to Oklahoma Joe's (how I miss good KC BBQ!) and then to the Cheesecake Factory for some dessert.
 Brece LOVED the cheesecake. (haven't really found any foods she doesn't love... ;))
 Keziah couldn't get enough of the whipped cream topping
 Thanks for letting us stay with you and for celebrating with us Hollands!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Our Big Helper

Brece loves to mop the floor

Look at that stack of dishes she washed! 
Making sure the counter is nice & clean 
 Brece loves to play in the dirt & plant things with Grandpa

Josiah & Grandma came to visit!

 Brece's first tea party