… sweet, glorious reminders

20130621-100819.jpg

Friday morning. Warmth of the sun shines through the blinds. Hillsong & Gungor play on repeat.

And, I am overwhelmed.

And, reminded by this garden how sweet our God is.

I honestly forget to water the garden, so when I do I give a double and triple the amount of water I think it needs.

Grated, I have no idea but if I’ve missed a few days and rain has been if-y….. Certainly it needs more right? Hope I’m not drowning them.

And, I’m overwhelmed again. As I type this. I’m overwhelmed.

20130621-101306.jpgFor me, this garden has become the ultimate metaphor for life.

It’s a constant reminder of how just the smallest amount of love and attention, how situations, relationships, & circumstances can change.

A little more attention.
A bit more grace.
A little more forgiveness.
More mercy.
More faith.
A little bit of hope.

Water. Sunshine. The negative removed.

Prayer. Faith. Hope. Love.
The greatest of these is love.

Without it our relationships are ruined. Without it we give less grace & mercy.
Without it we’re less patient. Less forgiving. Less understanding. Less likely to reconcile. Less likely to care. To try. To give. To sacrifice.

Faith keeps us trusting the promises of God.

Hope keeps us motivated enough to go to God. Keeps us humble. Keeps us working towards our desires. It won’t let us quit.

It seems as if every week, I see a difference. A slight change in my flowers.

Flowers that were there but didn’t have what they needed to grow. To become beautiful. To give life & hope to those watching them for encouragement. A small sign that all the watering, pulling of weeds, & effort is doing some good.

They needed consistency. Love. Faith. Hope.

I wonder how drastically our lives would change if we were willing to DO even the smallest amount more than what we say we’re going to do.

If our speech was laced with grace, forgiveness, & understanding.

If we depended on the Holy Spirit to guide our every action.

If God’s character & personality was what we goaled to emulate instead of allowing our egos to drive us.

What if Christ actions were what we so intently watched & His words were ours instead of allowing the culture’s way of life to be our example.

Yes. We would behave differently. Yes, some wouldn’t like us. But, we’d draw more men to Him through our patience, kindness, humility, service, and smiles.

We would be loving people. We would be making a difference.

Those watching us would find hope in our transparency & honesty. They would desire to know what it is that causes us to rejoice in trying times. We would attract people by the light being radiated through us – the light that is our Father.

20130621-105250.jpg
Our redeemer. Our salvation. Our companion. The giver of Life. The Bread of Life. The comforter. Our friend. Our protector and provider.

I can’t help but thank God for the desire to tend to that garden out there. What a blessing it has been. I have a real life example of how my Creator makes new & beautiful things. How HE loves His creations.

How there is always something working underneath the surface, things going on that we can’t see & don’t understand. But, as we water, allow light to shine, & remove the negative – how things grow and change. How these baby flowers or leaves or whatever they are are growing. And the little buds we are beginning to see aren’t the end.

20130621-104757.jpg

Once we see progress, we still have to weed and water. Its not time to rest & bask in the fact that there is progress. That little plant, the change, has a great life before it and if we continue to do our part, it can become something truly beautiful. The plant, the improvement can wither just as easily if we choose not to work just as hard to keep what we’ve worked for.

“You make me new. You are making me new. You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of dust. You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us.” – Beautiful Things by Gungor. It’s the song on our Chrome Buffalo video. You can watch that here.

God is working. Always. We just have to act in faith. Trust Him actively. Continue to seek Him – especially in those moments when we feel like we’re drowning.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid because of them. It is God who goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you”

… Here’s to little gardens that glorify our God and tell of His goodness & faithfulness!

Signature

… never lose hope

hope

Psalm 119:116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.

Hope is an amazing feeling that drives us.

Its what keeps us checking our phones for a phone call or text from that person.

Its what moves us to step outside of our comfort zones.

Its what pushes us and keeps from giving up.

Without it we lose the will to do.

We try and give our best because of hope.

Without it, we empty and at a standstill. Filling with bitterness, anger, and self pity because of the loss.

Without hope there is no life in our faith. There isn’t a perspective that’s bigger than ourselves which allows us to experience joy in any circumstance. Without hope we of isolate ourselves in various ways, believing that there is nothing else that can be done about what we’re going through. We become blasé, jaded, and cynical.

Hopelessness won’t allow you to experience joys with your friends and family…. they’re good has come, it is now and because you’ve lost hope, you don’t believe that your good is on the way.

Without hope it’s hard to be patient and excited about the future.

“It’s not going to work anyway….”, “That will never happen.”, and “Nothing ever works for me” will be your mantras and act as self fulfilling prophecies.
(You have no hope to motivate you to do anything different.)

“Never” is not true in most contexts. “Never” won’t ever come in most situations. Ever.
Whatever you’re hoping for can happen. We just lose hope and faith and quit trying. Quit waiting.

Those words have been my mantras. They’ve cost me. They’ve put in positions that caused me to settle. And, what I realized is that I wasn’t being honest with God or myself about what I truly wanted or felt. I quit praying about those things because I’d lost hope in them ever happening. My heart was breaking and I wasn’t going to the only One in whom I could find hope.

We may have to wait. We may have to work hard. Our plans may change. Our desires will evolve. But, never will not ever come.

Our God is a Redeemer and can heal our disappointments. He can change the condition of another’s heart. He can give you the desires of your heart and a hope that will never disappoint. We have to seek Him and trust that He is for us no matter what our circumstances look like. He will never leave us.

Yes. Never. God will never  forsake us. He will never lie or go back on His promises. He will never stop loving or forgiving us. Those are nevers you can count on. Those nevers will never ever change.

We have to believe in the future God has for us. Believe that God’s promises are true. Trust Him when He says “Go.” and “Serve.” and “Give.” and “Be.” Trust that whatever is on the other side of that word, that command is better than what we are experiencing.

We have to trust in our Father for what is to come. He does not lie. He does not play with our emotions or manipulate us into thinking one thing while He has something else up His sleeve.

We hope with confidence in what’s to come. We have to believe and hope in Christ and His return just as we believe that the pair of heels we’ve ordered are on their way. When we understand who we’re waiting for, it’s a lot easier to live as if there is something to live for.

He will always be right there by our side. Leading us, comforting us, holding us, loving us, revealing things to us, protecting us, and keeping us.

Because if nothing else, everything that we’ve gone through is for our benefit and God’s glory.
And, that is enough.

We can put our hope, faith, and trust in our Lord.
The One who saved us. The One who sets the lonely in homes. Who forgives us. The one who hears the cries of His children and comes to their rescue. The one who covers us in grace every day.

The one who has set a great work before us, who has molded our hearts to be consumed with a love for His people, and who has commanded us to go with courage & strength.

… here’s to trusting God and facing our future with a hope in the  future.

>>>> looking for a Chrome Buffalo link??? <<<<
Click HERE!!!! to help us fundraise for our adoption!!!
THANK YOU!!!!

Signature

… a little bit of hope

20130618-222043.jpg

From the very beginning of our journey, Thomas and I have been incredibly hopeful about bringing a little one into the world.

As our plans in how we would be bringing home a baby changed, we remained hopeful about God’s plan and how He would use us to get a bit of His work done. A couple of months before we planned to continue to fertility treatments, my heart was completely stolen by the act of adoption. Understanding that we were once orphans and were adopted into a forever family, it is so perfect that we are able to show that same love for a little one.

It’s already the sweetest, most incredible experience and I’m grateful to be able to experience such an act of service.

Faith. Hope. Love. The greatest of these is love. But, how much of our faith is driven by hope?

Our dreams and wishes begin with the smallest amount of hope. A thought laced with a desire of something big. amazing. spectacular. A twinge of excitement and endless possibilities.

…. reminding us that anything is possible. That good can happen.

And, from the very beginning, our good has been happening. The last couple of years rarely felt good in regards of expanding our family… there were definitely some hard times but they gave way to some very real learning experiences and opportunities for growth.

Even though we still have a few weeks before we’re presented to families, we’re not at the finish line yet. It seems as if we’re almost there but I know we still have a ways to go.

But, oh the hope. The joy. The excitement.

The peace and fulfillment that comes when you just go.

Just thinking about how GOD works… how He calls us to do various things sometimes without giving many clues as to what is coming next.

He just says, “Go.” “Do.” “Give.”
The times Jesus called the Disciples… there was no conversation. There was no debating on the Disciples part. They heard the call and obeyed.

There were times when Jesus healed, he sometimes asked questions that would lead to a confession of faith and then told the healed to “Go.”… There are other times such as when He healed the man with the withered hand in Matthew 12. He “simply” said, “Stretch out your hand.” The man obeyed and He was healed.

There is something amazing about obeying God and the glorify He receives through our stories. Our testimonies. Our obedience. Our faith and trust.

His plans are always so perfect and He doesn’t always give us explanations or show was what’s coming but He always promises that He will be with us. That His mercies are new every morning and that they, also, endure forever.

I didn’t think we’d have our first little one through adoption. I never considered adoption as a act of service and I definitely didn’t see the correlation between what happened in the adoptive mama/child and God/child relationships. Ever.

I know, believe, and trust that God has some really amazing work to do through adoption in general and our adoption specifically.

My heart is constantly full. Constantly overflowing with amazement and tears of pure awe.

Hope changes everything. It keeps us going. Gives us the wherewithal to dream a bit bigger. It keeps us believing.

I have never been so fulfilled or at peace with a decision…. Adoption is more than just one of the numerous ways we can expand our family… It’s being the hands and hugs of God, loving on His children, raising little people who grow up to love God and serve others. It’s comforting the lonely and hurting. It’s giving hope to a little one and their birth mama. It’s promising to care of and do right by a person that was loved so much that the best decision that could have been made for them, was to create a plan that enabled them to live a much more comfortable life.

A life that exposed them to things they may have never been able to experience.
A life full of love. Safety. A future.
A life that can’t promise the lack of pain or suffering, but a life that is steadied by a village of people who love them more than they ever imagined.

Does that sound familiar or what?

This road isn’t easy. We’re close but not there yet. But, I know that we are doing all of this for the right reasons. And, I haven’t done this on my own. And, even with Thomas by my side, we couldn’t have endured all we have on our own strength.

“… if anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ….” 1 Peter 4:11.
Read all of chapter 4 for some real knock you down kinda encouragement.

>>>>> Wanna know how you can help?? <<<<<

We were blessed to be accepted into a crowd funding program, Chrome Buffalo!! It’s an exciting program run by a husband/wife team who are so incredibly sweet and generous!
They have somehow devised the most generous plan that enables them to assist individuals and families raise money for their endeavors.
Every quarter, they create t-shirt (with spectacular designs) and sell them for $22.
Then, they give HALF of the proceeds from each shirt purchased during the 10 day drive to the driver.
{{Sounds mighty hands & feet of God to me!!}}>20130618-210049.jpg

If you click HERE, you’ll be able to check out our shirt design and read/watch a portion of our story! …And, purchase a shirt!

These shirts really are the softest, most comfortable ever! The quality is amazing!! We supported a friend’s mission trip with a shirt from CB, and was pleasantly surprised at the quality!!

… here’s to being the hands and feet of Christ, going when he says to go, and glorifying Him along the way!

name
<br /

Signature