I am blessed every time I visit "A Holy Experience" and I simply must share it with you.
God is using this faithful woman to speak Truth and Love through the words she writes.
She has lovingly shared "A Jesus Advent Celebration" with us. It is a simple, beautiful e-book that includes daily bible readings and simple ways to help us walk through this season of advent as we "Anticipate Christ... and celebrate Christmas, His Coming."
I have been struggling for several days... okay, maybe a week.
The thoughts that consume me lately are lies. But, still. I have been listening. Believing.
The short version is that the busyness of this season... combined with concern for my girl, Juliet, who has some mysterious issue (that has kept her home from school for over a week now) that the doctor has yet to resolve... added to the fact that I haven't felt great in over two weeks... multiplied by a mile long list of things I am supposed to be taking care of (instead of blogging!)... plus Suubi Project is taking off... ... together has left me struggling in many areas.
Today, I realized... that in the midst of the busyness and other distractions... I have been neglecting what's most important because He doesn't demand my attention.
The result of that neglect is that my 'cup' has not been re-filled.
And when my cup is empty... I forget who I am... and the lies become believable.
I am so thankful for His grace.
Today, I ran to my heavenly Father's throne... and there He was... waiting for me.
The Ruler of the universe waiting in the fullness of Love to speak to my heart.
What peace... and joy... and filling up we can receive when we simply approach His throne! When we seek Him, we will find Him.
Oh! Why do I neglect the Source of Lifeand Truth and Love???
Today I remembered Who I belong to... and who I am. I am His. And the truth is this...
Each one, thatconfessesJesus as Savior, belongs to God.
In Him you will know the truth... and the Truth will set you free.
Thank you, Father, for lovingly reminding me, again, of who I am.
Dear Friends... The Lord Almightywaits for you... He calls you by name... Listen... and be filledwith the Truth.
I am God's child (John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15 )
I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ. (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt and light of the earth (Matt 5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation ( Rom. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil 3 :20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31 -34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor 5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph.. 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom 8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor 1:21-22 )
I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28 )
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16 )
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph.. 3: 12 )
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13 )
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor.. 3: 16). I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1). I am God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected. (Phil. 1: 5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven ( Col 1:14). I have been adopted as God's child (Eph 1:5)
I know you are in a better place because I know you love Jesus... but I miss you terribly. I will forever miss your voice in the background as I talk to Mom on the phone yelling, "Hi Hon... I love you". I will forever miss your bear hugs. I will forever miss the way your smile would light up a room and the way you would make the smallest of gifts seem like the grandest thing you had ever received. I will forever miss your stubborn ways and the way you would ask me to, "Come over here and let me show you something".
Thank you for making Momma so happy and for taking such good care of her. Thank you for loving me as your own. Thank you for loving my children, for spoiling them, and for teaching them so many things. I know you were so proud of them and that meant the world to me.
It blesses my heart to witness so many people who were touched by you in one way or another. You brought much happiness into many lives. So many people miss you... especially Momma. You were a wonderful man, Daddy, and I am so proud to be your daughter.
My step-father, as most children might refer to a mother's second husband, recently passed away. But he was so much more than a step-father.... he was my Dad.
He loved me as his own daughter. He never thought of me or treated me as a "step" child... only his child. He called me his "beautiful, wonderful, amazing, daughter". He was proud of me and he told me often. He celebrated me, encouraged me, adored me. He loved me unconditionally... beautifully.
My favorite thing about Daddy was how happy he made my Mom. He loved and adored her. I loved watching them google over each other when I was younger and as I got older it was very entertaining to watch them pester each other... always with love. They had a lot of fun together... it kept them young.
He was also a wonderful "Papaw" to all his grandchildren. He loved his grandchildren like nobody's business. He adored them. He spoiled them like nobody's business too! He couldn't help himself. He loved teaching them new things and sharing new experiences with them... and giving them treats right before dinner.
Daddy loved collecting Coke-a-Cola memorabilia and Elvis was his favorite. He loved a good western movie and playing games with his grandkids. He loved bringing people together, which is the reason he started "The 82nd Combat Engineer" website, as well as a website for his hometown's highschool. He loved having coffee and chatting with friends. If you ever stopped by his house to drop something off, you had better plan on staying awhile because he always had a story to share.
Daddy had a passion for people. He could talk to anyone... and he made everyone feel like someone special. It was his gift. He will be greatly missed.
Saying goodbye is too hard... so I'll just say... "I'll be seeing you, Daddy."
This past Sunday, our Pastor spoke about how the love of Christ compels us. His love compels us to DO something, to act, to serve, to LOVE. He was explaining how when the love of Christ compels you to do something, you just have to "get it out"!
I must say... I TOTALLY get that!
My mind is consumed with The Suubi Project! I am so excited about what God is doing and I am SO BLESSED that He would use me in this project!
I am compelled by the love of Christ!
Will you visit Suubi's blog and consider joining our prayer team? The prayers of the saints are powerful and effective. For real.
It is such a joy to watch Juliet and Kenneth learn different things about living here. It makes me laugh to hear them figuring out things and then interpreting to one another their opinions on a matter.
After explaining to Juliet and Kenneth that we needed to "hurry" at the store, so that we wouldn't be late picking up their siblings...
Juliet looks back at Kenneth and says, "Walk like an American, not a Ugandan."
As I was standing at my kitchen sink washing dishes this past week, watching Juliet and Kenneth work on their math lessons, I could only smile and give thanks to God.
It was a two year journey to get them home. So.Worth.It.
For nearly two years, before we met them, I had been seeking God's direction for my life. We had finished building our home. After home schooling for 15 plus years, we had enrolled our youngest four children in a small private school. All of a sudden, the house was quiet... and still. I missed being with my children all day and considered bringing them back home numerous times. But we believed, without a doubt, that they were where they were supposed to be to complete their education. But, now what was I going to do?
A hunger grew in me to serve God in a new way... a burning desire that left me standing at my kitchen sink crying out to Him daily for direction. I did NOT want my life to be about a tidy house and clean laundry. I know now... that the house needed to be quiet... so that I could hear Him.
The Lord had planted the seed for Ug*nda and orphans in my heart through different people many years ago. It was during the quiet years that He spoke to my heart and prepared our family, not only for adoption, but for a bigger project. His hand guided us down the road to adoption and it is His hand alone that brought these children home.
He is faithful.
Now as I stand at my kitchen sink and watch my children begin their new life, I can only praise Him. He has brought them here. He is faithful. Always.
If you are seeking His direction... be still and listen. It is in the quiet that you will hear Him. He will answer you. He will show you the way. And whatever obstacles lie ahead, He will bring His good plan to completion. He will.
"...asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way..." Col. 1:9-10
Guardianship has been granted for all three children... BUT.
The judge granted us guardianship of our youngest girl, but wrote that he will not allow her to "immigrate" to the US, along with her brother and sister, because she is "too young to be seperated from her mother".
The whole thing is ridiculous. She has been "seperated from her mother" for nearly two years because her mother can not take care of her.
No one that I have talked to has ever heard of such a ruling.
We are in need of a miracle...
I know that God will provide a way... if it is His will for this precious girl to come home with me.
You are such a blessing to me... my beautiful mother.
You are loving and kind... patient and considerate... you are a true example of Jesus as you serve others so faithfully.
Thank you for loving me so well... for supporting me... and encouraging me. Thank you for faithfully praying for me... for always listening... and offering wise advice.
This day... I celebrate you.
I thank God for making you my Mom.
I pray that our loving Father will bless you and cause His face to shine upon you. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in you inner being... I pray that He will grant you the desires of your heart and that His joy will fill you... that His peace will cover you and that He will grant you good health and long life. I pray that He will bless the labor of your hands and that you will bear fruit in every good work... being strengthened with His power. I pray that you will know His love that surpasses knowledge - that you will be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
"Remember this moment," was what Mindy whispered to me while we were waiting for the judge to enter the court. "Remember this is the moment we have been fighting for for so long."
There were moments during the hearing that I questioned myself. Am I doing the right thing? Is there a better way? Do these children really understand? The judge made some comments that had me asking myself, "Am I being selfish?" "Would they be better off staying here with their mother?"
When I found out they had a mother, it knocked me to my knees. I had believed they were full orphans for so long that I had a really hard time processing that truth. It took me several days of crying out to the Lord, asking Him, "What am I supposed to do?!" before I remembered (again!) that this was God's plan. He brought us to this place. He showed us these children. He spoke to our hearts. This was His plan!
Through every trial, every disappointment, every discouragment, every sad day, every anxious day, every frustrating day... God has been working. He has a beautiful, perfect, marvelous plan for these children and for my family. I can not see it clearly... but I trust Him and I will remember His faithfulness.
As I sat in court, listening to this judge that has the authority to keep these children from coming home with me... I could only pray. God has a plan and whatever the outcome is, it will be His doing.
Now... we wait for a ruling. It was supposed to come on Friday... but the judge wants to see the children's uncle. My friend has had to travel very far and search for him, since he has no phone. There was some concern that he wouldn't be found. Praise God! he is now here in the city and ready to appear in court on Monday.
When I enter the court on Monday, I will remember the One who has brought us here... and that He will finish what He has started.
"Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always. Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced." 1 Chron. 16: 10-12
On Sunday, we visited a church in a small village where my friend preaches. The message was about how many people have faith in God, but so many do not trust Him.
He used the example of a child trusting his parent to provide for him. The child does not go to a neighbor, or a friend, or anyone else to get what he needs. The child goes to his parent, trusting that his needs will be met. If the child were to ask a guest visiting the family to meet his needs, the parent would be "annoyed" that the child was asking their guest. The parent wants the child to make his requests known only to him, so that he can meet his child's needs. So often, the child does not even need to ask because the parent already knows what the child needs and he is happy to provide for his child.
How much more so is this true with our heavenly Father?!
How often do we trust in man? How often do we turn to our friends in search of answers? How many times do we rely on our own abilities instead of asking our Father for His good provision? How often do we "annoy" our Father because we look for answers and provisions from everywhere else before we turn to Him?
We say we have faith in Him, but are we trusting Him?
Are we trusting Him to complete whatever He has begun? Are we trusting Him to finish what He has started? Are we trusting Him to work out His good plan for us?
Or... Do we get impatient when we face delays? Do we grumble when the outcome is not what we desired? Do we fear man because he holds a position of power? If so, why?
The only answer is that we are not trusting our Father completely.
This morning before court, Juliet, Kenneth, Sharon and I gathered for prayer.
Kenneth was the first to pray. He began by thanking God for a new day, a good night's sleep, food to eat, and every other thing that most of us in the US would skip over merely because we take so much for granted. He then began praying for our court appointment. He prayed, "We are only human beings, O God. But You are Lord of all and King of kings. We are unable to make a good outcome in court, O God, but with You all things are possible. We ask that You will finish what You have started, O God. We pray, O God, that You will bring to completion that which You have begun." Amen!
I was so moved by his faith. He completely trusts God to work out His good plan.
O God, forgive me for not trusting You completely. Forgive me for relying on my own strength. Forgive me for complaining and for being impatient. Forgive me for fearing that man could oppose Your good purpose and plan. Thank you for working in me, as you work out what You desire. You are so good! You are faithful! I will TRUST You! In Jesus name... Amen!
When we returned from court, Kenneth turned to me and said, "Mummy, our prayers have not gone unanswered." Praise God... to Him alone be the glory!
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5