Tough Like Dad
The girls both look absolutely amazing! They have both put on a little weight. Miss E is up to almost 18 pounds while her sister is hovering 17. This is so exciting to see! And I love happy baby photos each week. It does make this mama heart feel more relaxed.
We were hoping, again, this week to have cleared US Embassy. But, unfortunately, our documents are still be translated. We did verify again that our paperwork is in Addis. This in itself is great news! Usually, translated documents take a week to be done. So we remain hopeful that soon, very soon, we will pass and get our PAIR letter.
We are still being told that we will travel this summer. With cautious excitement, we are really hoping to travel in July. Our parents would both have flexibility to be here to stay with the kids. This would be huge for us. Just to have that comfort of having two grandmas here to play and tag team our crew would be priceless. Please join us in prayer for travel in July.
Starting in August, courts will close due to the "rainy season" and will remain closed until the middle of October. If we don't get a court date in July (or before the middle of August) we will need to wait the 8-10 weeks until court re-opens to be seen before a judge. This would obviously be tough. The Embassy, however, remains open. So if we can just get through court, we should (hypothetically) be able to have the girls home sometime between July and September.
In the wait, God has opened doors for us to minister and love on others in a way that we wouldn't have otherwise been able to do if the girls were home now. Though we wish they were home, we feel grateful for God's willingness to allow us to bless others. Since our trip to Ethiopia, God has opened our hearts to see the need in our own neighborhood, our communities. There is so much need. Mountains tall of hurt. The sky is the limit for prayer. We feel like we were cognizant of others, pre-travel, but recently opportunities have fallen directly in our path. Sometimes God intentionally places others in your path and other times he asks that we seek it out. And sometimes, one leads to the other.
I'm glad that God did not call us all to do the same mission. I'm pleased that He knows us so well. That He designed us for a unique purpose. That He placed a fire in each of us to help. There are people next door. Some in your local church. Others who need you in your work place. There are people in your running group, at your gym or in your school. There are children who are going hungry now that school is out for summer. Children who do not feel safe in their own home. Teens who are pregnant and are struggling each day. The needs are not always obvious. Because needs are often found in hurts. And hurts can't be discovered until we are willing to build relationships. Which means we must step outside of our comfort zones. Break down the walls of safe. Jesus calls us to take risks. To trust.
What is important is that you open your heart. Be willing to listen to the purpose that God has placed in your life. And then you do just what He asks.
For a long time, I struggled (and maybe I still do sometimes) with where God wants us to put our energy, time and money. After all, there are so many great organizations out there saying Yes to God's call. I can feel pulled in many different directions. When I feel this unsettled chaos, I have the tendency to stand still. Of not knowing where God wants to use me. To not do anything. Of seeing need and not knowing how to take the next step. I do believe there are times when God calls us to wait on Him. To rest. To be still. But other times when He is waiting on us to make the move. He is prompting us quietly and we can't hear. Or we don't listen. Or we are unsure.
From time to time, because of this internal conflict, I've developed a formula or a few steps, really, that work for me. I want to remember to come back to this when the need feels overwhelming. When I feel stretched. I think God wants to use us. Like the disciples after Jesus ascended into heaven. The angels warned that Jesus will return one day in his glorified body. Instead of waiting idly for this second coming, the disciples are instructed to go. Go. Do the work that He has designed for us.
1. If you are standing still, like many times I have, I would encourage you to spend more quiet time in a good devotion or Gods word. Surround yourself with friends who desire to be used by God. Tell others of your desire to help. Ask God to break your heart for what breaks His. Join groups of like minded people. Start a bible study or journey group. Be in the word together and ask that others support you. When you are filled, you can be used.
2. Then brainstorm all of God's experiences that He has already given. Where has He used me in the past? Do I like to be around a lot of people in a group? Or is one on one better for me? Do I prefer adults or kids? Healthy, sick, or disabled? Do I like a challenge? Am I comfortable with death? International or National? Do I feel called in the church or in a secular environment?
3. Think about the life lessons God has given you? What have you learned? What is it that He has brought you through? Were you bullied in high school? In your workplace? Was your father an alcoholic? Your mother abandon you? Your brothers addicted to pornography? Did your child have an illness? You struggled through a miscarriage? Were you abused as a child? Is there something that you would like to see done differently that would have helped you succeed through these disappointments? What is it that you would like to see change in this world? What triumphs have you been given after tough seasons? How can you impact others currently in similar situations?
4. Next I would write down all of your passions. What makes you feel alive? What is it that draws you in? Is there a group that you feel connected to? One that you can relate to their mission? Are you passionate about women and children's rights? Equality for all? Do you have a heart for lower income families or those lost in the heap of money? Do you have extra that you could donate? Time you are wiling to teach? Does it make you feel excited to stand next to your friends and reach others? Are you interested in getting your entire family involved? You may come up with a list of 20 - try to narrow it down to the top five.
5. And finally, just move. Be willing. Take one step in front of the other and keep walking. Reach out in all arenas. No task is too small or large. In silent or public. If doors close, check the next one. If the path doesn't feel right, try another. Be in prayer as you seek opportunities and know that each experience will land you in your calling. Nothing wasted. Each moment a small piece of the puzzle. Even the trials and obstacles. Yes, especially those. The struggles. The uncomfortable. The mistakes. Because that is where life is birthed. The hope in which is an anchor for your soul.
Father, thank you for the girls that you have given our family. We are thrilled that hey have grown even more than we anticipated. Thank you for each opportunity, each moment in our life. Thank you for calling us to be disciples of all nations. For making each of us special. For giving us all talent to be used. Thank you for the love that you continually pour into our lives. For the blessings you call us to give to others. Thank you for the times you gently guide us into your will. When we don't understand it, but we keep looking up knowing you will bring us full circle. Thank you, Jesus, for leaving us with your holy spirit when you ascended to sit at the right hand of God. Thank you for living a life of sacrifice. I believe you want us to do the same. Please help shape our lives to continue to look like the one you called for us to have. Thank you for each life lesson. For the amazing people, in the broken of this world, you have placed in our path. Thank you for using us to glorify You. Amen.