… God is great, God is good

(this picture is completely unrelated to anything written below, but I ran my very first 5k on Saturday…. I’m incredibly proud of myself and totally praise God for the opportunity and guts. *** yes, there’s a story there…. maybe later! ***)
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God is great. God is good…..
We know this. We’ve said it. We read it. We’ve recited year over too many breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack meals to count.

But, do we really grasp what God being great and God being good really means?

I, for one, did not. And, still have not fully grasped the depth and intensity of how good God is. I started to truly “get” his goodness through the struggles and heartaches of attempting to adopt….. but, I hope that I am forever in awe of these facts as I would hate to grow immune to their grip it has on the heartbeat of my soul and take it for granted.

Now, I’ve learned a lot about his during this chapter of infertility during the last couple of years but I am learning God in an entirely new way.

I’ve learned a while ago that God’s goodness is based solely on who He is. The part I struggled with is he remains good REGARDLESS of where I am in life. It’s not that I thought he began to be “bad” but more as if He almost quit being anything. I knew that He could never be bad, but I’m left in this horrible situation and it’s certainly seems as if He’s not doing anything good. Almost as if He was treating me as if I was an Isrealite before God freed them via Moses & Aaron…. He just quit listening to them and at some point He decided to turn a listening ear to them. Can you say that a God you KNOW is good is now bad because of this?

Does His state of goodness ever cease?

He is good because His mercies are never ending, He is good because His love unfailing… UNFAILING. He is good because He is with me always.

He is good because he chose me and is allowing me to impact my corner of the world for his Kingdom. An honor. My reasonable service.

He is good because he is perfecting me for His glory.

Most of all, because He is good and because we are made in His image, we have the ability, through the power of Jesus Christ who works inside of us, to be good, as well.

He is good and will always display His goodness to me because I am His child, and He is my Father in Heaven.

Matthew 7:11
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

I wrote a piece for Style Magazine this past Tuesday about my views and hopes in raising “the good”.
I acknowledged that in order for my little wonders to be “the good”, I have to be and model the good.

I get my standards and characteristics of what “good” is from my Heavenly Father ….. For he is good.
Consistent…. Wise…. Forgiving…. Gracious…. Loving…. Merciful

I believe that the more I imitate God, the easier my children will come to know, trust, and love who He is. And, will more likely learn how to imitate Christ by way of modeling the goodness I portray to them. They will eventually learn on their own who God is and will move from imitating me to solely knowing and imitating Him directly.

Consider the contrary – how difficult would it be to understand that a person you cannot see, feel, or take in with any other sense, is good and loves you when those you can see, those who are responsible for you, are not good to you. Will you truly grasp forgiveness if its never been displayed to you? When you do, how long could it take? How much more difficult would it be to unlearn holding grudges, nastiness, and letting go of the past than it would be to never learn those detrimental characteristics in the first place?
From someone who’s been there…. it takes time. A few patient, good God imitating people, with a passion for Christ and helping others find freedom in Him to help you get there. It requires a willing spirit, long conversations, lots of self reflection/inventory, and understanding the real result of Christ’s decision to die on the cross to get it. It takes those good, God imitators to imitate, imitate, imitate and to be courageous enough to call you out when you’re wrong and are acting in anyway opposed to who Christ is. It takes them focusing more on Christ than your response to push you back to Him when you are so incredibly wrong. It requires you to be gripped by and understand the fact that Christ  took the penalty for our every sinful action, thought, word, and deed to understand that we have no reason to hold another hostage. Especially when we were and are forgiven so freely.

GOD IS GOOD.

I do not believe that as parents, aunts, anyone over or even alongside another, we have the luxury to desire to be anything other than imitators of the ultimate good. Why? Because we have a direct impact on the next generations of kingdom builders.

We are to raise little images of Christ. We are charged with the responsibility to raise these little people who will become believers to leave our homes to form their own Christ centered homes to raise another generation of believers who will live out loud and serve God big.

Have you ever wondered how drastic the your home, school, work place, community, church (yup.), and WORLD can be changed if we all decided to own the fact that by the grace and power of God, we can be the good. What if we truly acted out and portrayed the good that Christ shows us daily?

Ultimately.
I’ve realized that He is good always. Even when the Isrealites were enslaved…. God received (and,continues to receive) the utmost glory for the freedom of His people. They endured increasing pressure and hatred before the miracles and acts of God that led to their freedom. God would have never received AS MUCH glory if the degree of his percieved goodness equated to the intensity of the Isrealites’ comfort.

God’s glory and our comfort are typically inversely related. Things don’t typically turn around until later on in the chapter, as you continue to read a bit further into the book.  Then you notice patterns of struggle and heartache that preceed redemption and the peace of God…. sin will forever come before forgiveness, grace, and mercy. All of the events that lead up to God recieving the utmost glory are immensely difficult but definitely for our good. And, His glory.

So that pretty much means that we can count James 1:2 – 4 as true…. that we can absolutely consider struggles as pure joy….. the benefits of these hardships are good.

…. here’s to truly knowing and believing with your entire heart down to the depths of your very soul that God is GOOD… that He is FOR YOU… and, completely had you in mind before He created the foundations of the world.

… here’s not never being foresaken.

Amen.

 

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… we’ll be alright

Being the super planner and structured to a fault person that I am…. I find it very difficult to deal with the fact that I have to wait a few more weeks before attending our adoption meeting… hopefully this one won’t have to be rescheduled. We can do nothing before it, but the life that will begin after it is going to be everything I cannot imagine and full of so much happiness, joy, happy/sad tears, frustrations, growth, incredible fun, and most of all- babies.

I am so ready for this life. I cannot wait. And, I’m ready in a I know I’m not ready way but God’s in control and it’s time so lets go kinda thing. I mean, what in life are you really ever READY for? Nothing. You prepare the best you can and you learn as you go. You’re never ready (or expect) to meet the love of your life – but, look at the amazingness that comes from that! You’re never really “ready ” for college but when you complete HS, it’s time to go. We complete one phase of life and move into the next. You’re prepared, you have knowledge, and then you GO. When you go, you learn, you bump your head, you make mistakes but thank God for all of that because of all the growth you experience.

We were “ready” for marriage because we had everything we needed, had the most incredible counseling that saves me from drowning on almost a daily basis and our counselor/friends have taught us so much about LIFE, Christianity, and spouse-ship.  They prepared us for so much more than just a marriage – they teach us to live out our beliefs and be the people God created us to be.  We’ve survived, we’ve matured, and have cultivated this great partnership. He’s a lot less him, I’m a lot less me, we’re becoming a pretty good “we”. It works.

I know as much as I say I cannot wait for this meeting and everything involved – there is no way we can fully prepare to go through what we are about to deal with.We can read all of the books and talk to every adoptive family on this Earth but the bottom line is we have to experience it and experience set you smack dab in the middle of the front lines, instead of the front row. From what I hear, it will be one of the hugest challenges we’ll have experienced so far but also the most rewarding.

The euphoric feelings of this adoption process are waning. And, I am so totally okay with that. I’m ready to dig my heels in and prepare to bring our little one home. We have to prepare for so much. Aside from the legal aspect of adoption, there is the fact that one day we will have to deal with the truth of adoption, the flip side of our sweet story.

One day our kiddo will understand that we were blessed with them because their bio family did not want them. Yes it’s cuter to say that they “chose a better life for them” but let’s be real – these kids are the discarded and unwanted. Not unloved necessarily, but unwanted. The unprepared for. The unexpected. For whatever reason, they were given away. That won’t be an easy pill to swallow no matter how much we love them. It’s truth that will impact them forever. We have to prepare to endure the same rounds of questions and conversations, the most ridiculous questions and statements, and true ignorance. Along with some real cruelty coupled with doubt sprinkled with kindness. Some of this has already happened, but I’m sure the best is yet to come.

Many days my heart will feel how deeply broken it is and there is nothing to do but cry. The love, joy, and pain it holds is incomprehensible and it runs deep. I’m not expecting this little one to heal my heart. I believe that because of her/him and how they will be made apart of us, there will be some healing. Some redemption. Some wholeness and fullness brought with the joy they will bring. Some sort of opportunity to do and be the good, the secure, the forever.

I’m hoping to raise a little one who will love God, have a servant’s heart, and want to use their gifts to serve God big…. that will be an honor.

The journey to our babies is a million and three steps but I’m so glad that we’ve taken the first and the subsequent million and two will come soon after. I’m sure there are times we will run forward, take a few back, possibly count these steps out in circles, but we will be moving and that’s what I’m ready for. Movement.

I confess that although I’m a planner and I like to know, I’m not one to do much research. I’m not terrified of germs or scrapes and bruises. I’m not going to be the parent who sanitizes the world before taking my child out. Germs help to build the immune system, they’ll be ok. Scratches and scrapes give character and will tell great stories when they grow up. I was asked if I would spoil my kids, the absolute answer is “NO.” Spoil? Why would I do that….. when something is spoiled, it goes bad. There’s nothing attractive, beneficial, or productive about a spoiled child. Spoiled children grow up to be spoiled adults and that’s just gross. There’s something GOOD about a child hearing “no”, having to endure things he’s gotten into but wants to quit, and who doesn’t get everything he wants because he wants it. It’s not productive to be able to do whatever s/he pleases just because. What kind of employee/employer, servant, leader, father, husband, friend will this person be? S/he will be selfish, unable to sacrifice, unable to see beyond their own desires, unable to serve others, and just plain rotten. Ew. Not attractive and will make a terrible husband or wife. And, YES… I’m thinking that far in advance because the purpose of having children is to raise to love & serve God, leave, and form their own homes where they have kids and raise them to do the same. In their homes, these little ones who turn into big ones will have to be able to lead and sacrifice for their families or submit to the one who leads. How can they do that efficiently when they are raised to believe that everything revolves around them, that they don’t have to wait or endure much at all, and everything goes their way all of the time? That’s not life. Certainly not a life that is subject to the will of God – which is often not what we’ve planned for our lives.

So, I cannot wait for these weeks to pass.
I do not know HOW to be a parent to perfection, nor do I want to know. I don’t know how long this process will take. I don’t know how it will effect us, how we will be changed, or how my passions for the lost and lonely will grow. I don’t know how many we will have or when we will have them. I have no idea where this road will take us.

I just hope that we are willing to go.

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… written on the heart

Whatever it is you feed your mind, will dictate your thoughts………

4mth

February was slated to be quite the exciting month…. if not for one reason, definitely another. We waited to hear if we were going to be the parents of a sweet one due at the beginning of March (she happened to make her debut on the 26th!) and if we weren’t to adopt her, we would join our agency and attend orientation on the 27th & 28th.

But, as it happened, none of those events happened.
We experienced our first failed adoption and due to discrepencies between ourselves and our agency on discipline, we were not able to attend this month’s meetings. We have to complete online trainings on alternate forms of discipline (aside from spanking) in order to attend orientation next month.

Calamity. Castrophe. Cataclysm.

Always.

And, it’s okay. Now,at least.

It wasn’t okay for a few hours. There were tears and frustration concealed and managed.

Very abrasive, destructive, and negative thoughts were combatted with quietly whispered truth.
“My grace is sufficient”
“I am with you”
“I am God”

Over and over and over again.

Then reading Psalms 36 that night was amazing…. and, immediately brought to mind Third Day’s song, Your Love, Oh Lord, whose lyrics are taken directly from the scripture, comforted and encouraged me.
****** I’m huge on Contemporary Christian music and I’m always sideeyed but I love it because the lyrics are scripture. Can’t beat that! It’s true, honest, and even the most upbeat & pump your fist songs are filled with a peacefulness! I mean, how could it not be?! ******
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(photo by Christin McQueen)

My youngest neice (above and below, 3yrs old) called and said “let’s say a pray” and literally made me repeat everything she said. She thanked God for mouths to eat, teeth to chomp like alligators, and noses to smell flowers, for the dentists who clean our teeth…. she thanked God for animals and who knows what else. It was beyond adorable and sweet. It reminded me that even though nothing is perfect… there is so much to be grateful for. (Even mouses… no, mices.. wait, mice!)

ari dinner

Her older sister (8 yrs old) left me messages saying that we could have her and asking if we could go get her (she lives in Georgia) and bring her down to live with us. lol. Totally cute. And, I can’t wait until they come down for the summer! One full month of auntie/neice loving is never enough but certainly makes for an entertaining summer!

aliya graduationaliya cheer

Our time will soon come…..

In the meantime, we will continue to use our time wisely and prepare so that when our time makes its debut, we will be ready.

While I do that, this curly mane of mine will continue to grow in beauty and length! lol. I am really, REALLY loving my hair, watching it grow, and learning how to manipulate and maintain it!  I don’t regret chopping my hair off four months ago (read about it here!) and I’ve enjoyed the journey we’ve been on!

Nevertheless…..
He is the solid rock on which I stand….. His grace is sufficient, and He is with me. All things will pass away. Our plans will be ruined, we will experience disappointment, sadness, and grief. But at the end of the day, His mercies, grace, and presence will sustain us.

…. here’s to writing His word on our hearts, tying them to our hands, and binding them on our foreheads. This way, we cannot get away from and will constantly be reminded of His goodness and faithfulness.

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