Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Digging Through the Roof of Unbelief

The battleground of adoption (and any other God-sized adventure) is waged right where flesh and Spirit meet. Just when the flesh wants to take over and deliver a large load of discouragement the Spirit steps in and says, "Hear this..."

One recent morning, our family Bible study retold the following story from Mark 2.
"A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'"

And as you may already know,  Jesus healed the man a few verses later. Amazing!

As I read this story to my girls I sensed the Spirit saying, "the roof you need to dig through is unbelief." The day continued and as I was driving I considered that thought and the Spirit began to unpack it for me. This is what I heard....

"Cindy, you think the adoption system in Haiti and all its offices are bogged down. You think the Pastor has too much on his plate. You keep considering how many families are in your exact situation with this orphanage as you try to estimate when Keemberlie may come home. But what you are not considering is that there is no "polite waiting line" to get to Me, the one who moves mountains. You are considering the earthly realities around you, but not the supernatural realities about me. You are thinking that you, your family and Keemberlie are just another few people in a crowd. Well, let me assure you, daughter, I care for you and your family. And I care for Keemberlie. I desire her homecoming more than you! You are not just people in a crowded system. You are my daughters. Dig through your unbelief in this and you will find Keemberlie at my feet as I call up to the rooftop saying, "I see your faith and she's coming home." Pastor may be busy. He may get distracted. Haiti's gov't offices may be crawling at a snail's pace. But I am the One who makes things move. I am Momentum. I am Force. I am. And you have access to me. You can sit back and listen to these words or you can start digging. Those who sat in the crowd and just listened to me were not the ones who were healed and forgiven in this story. The ones who were made right with me and given miracles were the ones who decided I was/am not the kind of God to say, "get back in line and wait your turn". I am the God of compassion with lavish love that moves swiftly when I see my children coming.... Dig, sweetie, dig! For unbelief has blocked your path and your faith will break it down."

I don't know the situation you (blog reader) may be facing. I don't know what you long to see Jesus do. But if it lines up with the heart of Christ I encourage you to stop waiting in the crowd like an interested by-stander and start digging your way to the One who already knows you and gave you these longings. He hears, He sees and He's ready to answer, if only you believe. Don't look around you to see if anyone else is moving toward him. Fearing people's judgement or opposition doesn't please the One who died for you. Don't worry if your digging makes a mess. Go on and break a sweat and dig like you believe He's ready to answer you!

Be encouraged and actively pursue the work of Christ in your life!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Good News!

Today, after over a month of expecting this to happen "tomorrow", I finally have good news from the Pastor in Haiti!!!  Keemberlie's birth mother's death certificate has been drawn up and is currently in the hands of Pastor's brother-in-law. Pastor is in the countryside of Haiti doing some special work until later this week. So now we're praying that this important document will remain safe in the brother-in-law's hands until Pastor can retrieve it from him. And THEN... our dossier can finally move to IBESR, which I'm hoping will happen before Libby and I arrive in Haiti on Friday afternoon. And THEN... we wait some more. And no, we still have no estimated time frame. None. Nada.

BUT, Jesus is showing me so many good, rich things in this journey and there is a whole lot brewing in me to be shared in the near future. I just don't have the time to write it all out until I return from Haiti.

Titles of future posts to come...
1. Digging a Hole in the Roof of Unbelief
2. The Orphan Idol
3. Thoughts on Spiritual Battle in International Adoption

For now - its packing time and family time. Libby and I fly out e.a.r.l.y. Friday morning and return very late on Tuesday the 26th. Prayers over our trip are appreciated - particularly for Libby's safety. Prayers over Billy and Gracie while we're away are also appreciated.

Garments of Praise Are On!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let's Catch Up... Quickly!

The Traditional Gotcha Day Dinner - 
We have a traditional Gotcha Day Dinner with the Martine family each year to celebrate Libby and Maliah's special day. This year it was fun dressing Gracie in Libby's first anniversary Gotcha day dress for the occasion. This Gotcha Day was Libby's fourth!

 Maliah and Libby

The Martines
The kids... 2 more will be added by next year's Gotcha day, Lord willing. One in our family (Keemberlie from Haiti) and one in the Martine family (a 3-4 year old boy from Ethiopia)!!!

All with cheesy grins!

A family photo... we gotta do better than this, but this is all we got folks... Billy was aggravated with Libby who had just yanked his goatee and I was bouncing a less than happy Gracie... good times!
Cristie and Me

Sunday's best -
You just gotta love that cute smile!
Dressed girls up in cute Asian attire for church one Sunday morning. Have been visiting Cross Bridge Community church for a while now. Enjoying it much!

 Soccer Season - 
Soccer Season is here! Go Libby!
This year Maliah is on the same team with Libby. It is so fun watching them play together. Will have to get a photo of them playing together soon. There is some serious CHINESE DOMINATION going on! The two of them ROCK!

 The Random - 
lollipops! sisters!
THE grin!

This Fall's Getup -
Libby the Asian Buzzette Lightyear
Gracie the Ethiopian Renaissance Princess with Pacifier

The River -


 The Girls - 
this precious face stares back at me each night as I lay her down at 8pm. she plays a few games with me and giggles. i heart gracie.

And this precious girl - the one in sporty attire - is showing signs of embracing her girl-ness. Note the headband and twinkle toe shoes! Of course, the athletic shorts and T remain. 

My Matching Brownies!

 Home School - 
We are currently using both Sonlight and Classical Conversations curriculum. For CC we meet with a group of other CC families each Tuesday morning. Libby has to do a class presentation each week. I'm really not creative, but we all have creative moments... well, this one was mine (probably for the entire year). Our history sentence to memorize for the week included a fact about Rembrandt so I had Libby study three of his self-portraits and then we gathered things from around the house to try and re-create the self-portraits Libby style. Lastly we chose one of the pictures and worked on her own self-portrait that imitated Rembrandt... Here's the finished product:

Rembrandt in Oriental Attire.... Libby in her Chinese outfit doing her best to re-create the image.

Rembrandt in a plumed beret. Libby wearing a similar hat... and mustache.

Rembrandt in wide-brimmed hat sits next to Libby in her black cow-girl hat.

The painting we did together to match her re-creation.

We are really enjoying home school. We'll finish up our first year using Sonlight before Christmas and begin the Kindergarten curriculum in January. We are half way through our first semester of CC. In the last week or so Libby has finally allowed me to hear/see her progress in memory work. She's walking around the house singing her history sentences (long ones!) and her counting by 2's and 3's songs. She's memorized about 50 world history timeline cards from Creation to the Ministry of Jesus and has Ephesians 6: 1-6 under her belt. By the end of the CC school year she'll know the entire 6th chapter of Ephesians. I am so amazed by this curriculum and the ability of young minds to soak it all up.

The Parents - 

Billy loves his girls and they adore him.


The Latest - 
Keemberlie lost her two front teeth sometime after Aug. 2 and before Sept. 25. I think it changes the look of her face so much! She is so tiny and it looks like she is growing taller. I was hoping to hear from the Pastor today regarding the last document we need in order for him to deliver our dossier to IBESR (THE adoption office in Haiti), but I did not. We have been delayed by this one document for too long so keep the prayers coming that Keemberlie's biological mother's death certificate would be finished and delivered to Pastor this week! 

Oct. 22-26 Libby will travel with me to visit Keemberlie again. Billy will stay back with Gracie. Prayers over our trip are appreciated!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

He is My Strength

You want to know a little of the raw truth about adoption? Here goes...

Every adoption, for me, comes with a season of weariness in the journey. That season is now upon me. In my flesh I have thoughts like, "How did I get into this mess?" "Can I stick this journey out to see its end?" "I don't want to travel abroad and leave my family again." "How long, Lord, how long?" All of these thoughts walk the fine line that can lead to a mindset of grumbling, doubting, and discouragement if left unchecked. And when I'm weary, things can easily go unchecked. That's just the way Satan works. He kicks us when we're down in hopes that we will not get back up in time for this particular battle or the next.

Well, fortunately, I have this person living in me called the Spirit of Jesus. If you are not a follower of Jesus you are thinking I am one crazy lady. If you know Jesus, you know right where I'm headed. The Spirit of Jesus, in my unchecked, weary soul, these last two weeks, has been calling out to me things like, "I created you for this." "I'm bigger than this" "Look at me, I'm the lifter of your head, I'm you're victory". "I started this, I'll finish this. Do you trust me?"

And when I finally chose to listen to that voice my weariness became a place for His great strength to make its debut. In my brokenness, in my tears, when I literally wanted to shut down and crawl in a dark quiet hole so I could hibernate until the winter is over,  Jesus came -  lifting, loving, gathering and holding me together.  When He started ministering to me in this way I knew clearly that the answer was to draw near to him and pray. I don't always have the words, but I know in His presence, the Spirit is groaning out on my behalf the words my soul longs to say. When the enemy wants to isolate for the purpose of making us lonely, sad, and helpless -  the Spirit of Jesus is wanting to call us away from distraction into his refuge and peace for the purpose of strengthening. Watch out. I'm coming out armed!

Keemberlie's past cannot be changed. But Keemberlie's future, well, that's a different story... And this is why Jesus has taken the time to arm me... to suit me up for battle...

I have been chosen. My family has been chosen. We have been chosen to fight a really good fight!!! 
I'm peaking over the battle lines these days as I find myself on the forefront of it.  I'm looking not to see what might be coming my way so I can dodge it or duck away from it. And I certainly have nothing on my own to fight this battle over Keemberlie's life. I'm looking ahead to see what God is about to overcome!!!! I'm looking ahead so I can see for myself how great is His might! How miraculous are His ways! How lavishing is His love! How devoted is His heart to win this battle while we stand on firmly planted feet and pray with arms stretched toward the heavens!

I want to be Caleb silencing thousands of discouraged voices as I cry out, "He will give us this child! He will do it!" And I want this to be my cry not just during the part of the journey to bring Keemberlie home. I want to be crying this out when she gets home and we're battling the lies her rough life has formed in her mind about food, family, love. I want to be able to rally the troops and say, "God is bigger than this!"

So, want to adopt? Want to feel the weight of unmeasured waiting that brings such weariness you drop to your knees and say, "If I hadn't told so many people about this and if I had not seen that God began this, I would quit!"? It sounds like an awful place because none of us want to feel this way. But that feeling is not the end. It is the beginning of a journey to a place of complete dependence on the Lord, where you get to see with your own eyes His strength wielding its sword and shield and bending its bows and arrows for you and for your child. Talk about a knight in shining armor story!! The King of kings is riding in on His horse setting His mighty angels to action...riding over the territory of Haiti where Keemberlie resides. He is fighting off principalities, demons and the like. And Keemberlie sees Him coming. I am certain she recognizes Him! As she worships, singing out in full voice how good God is there in that dark place of survival. And if she can see Him and call out to Him such praise from where she stands, HOW MUCH MORE should I??

I'm still weary. I'm still in a vulnerable place and I'm going to shed more tears. But this is a good place because His strength is so much greater than my strongest day. His strength is so spectacular, so beautiful. And His strength is directing my prayers, giving me a place of honor in this love story. No greater stories can be told than the ones that end with Jesus rescuing the most helpless and the least! And I get to be a part of it.

Adoption comes at a price. But ransom paid to make light penetrate darkness and love win is the most beautiful thing!

Latest adoption update: Keemberlie's birthmother's death certficate should be in the Pastor's hands tomorrow (Wednesday, Oct. 6) and our paperwork will hopefully enter its last major stop in Haiti next week. The office is known as IBESR. Jesus be in IBESR and be swift!
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