Story Behind the Song: Just Want You

I miss getting to share at concerts all the details about my songs–where I wrote them, what was going on in my life at the time–and so I’m going to try to do one blog a month that tells the stories, one song at a time.

The first one that I want to do really should be JUST WANT YOU. This song is truly my testimony. Not my “I was six, loved Jesus, and walked down the aisle” testimony, but my ongoing adult testimony. It is the story of learning and re-learning that my life began when I found Him and He never intended me to get caught up in anything but that one fact.

Being a church girl, being in the generation of big youth rallies, being a “helper” at heart, gosh, there has been no end to my ambition “for the Lord.” But how easy, how quickly, can worship and adoration and passion turn from His face and His voice to this all out, you’re a wimp if you can’t hang, die hard occupation with doing “His work” on earth?

Never ever would I say being His hands and feet is wrong, (it is merely second in command), but our eyes have to stay on His face and our ears have to stay tuned to His voice or what we do with our hands and feet may just be us doing. Just doing doing doing. Spinning our wheels, angry at others for not doing, frustrated by lack of results. How many times have I thought I could only focus on one or the other? Either a Martha OR a Mary, etc.

So when Selah was just a baby, I stayed home from church one Sunday morning. I seem to remember it was in July, near or maybe on my salvation birthday. I had been a missionary in Africa before coming home, getting married, and having this first baby…I still struggled with why that commitment to missions didn’t work out for me, why I couldn’t “cut it.” I just broke down before the Lord and told Him I was so tired of waking up every morning feeling like I had failed Him. I told Him, “I quit. I quit trying to be great and do great things for you. I will just be a nobody in Your kingdom. Count me out of that special team, Lord, I will just love you and know You love me, and that’ll be enough. I can’t keep wanting to do more, with you not allowing me to do more. I can’t keep feeling guilty for what I’m not ABLE to accomplish for you. I have nothing to show for myself! So, I give up on this making a difference for You thing. Just take me as I am!”

I feel like the Lord smiled and said, “Good. Finally.” It really did feel good to get all of that out of my system; to really say what I meant and address it. Of course I wasn’t able to look at it as I do now! At the time, I was broken hearted. Ten years of my life, my calling, it felt like I was forsaking it all.

And I was. I was forsaking the blurry vision, the headstrong idea, of what it meant to be a Christian and a servant of the Lord. Finally on that day in July, for the second time, the first for my soul and now for my life, I received GRACE. You have to know how low and empty and lost and unable you are in order to receive grace. There’s simply no other way to get it.

I hadn’t accepted before that day that only God could make a difference in the world. I hadn’t accepted before that day that if I was making a difference, I most likely wouldn’t even know it. I hadn’t accepted before that day that blindly following God step by step with no agenda or hopes of a great resume was truly what He wanted…and even more than that obedience (which He clearly defined to me as different than ministry), He wanted intimacy. Intimacy first, the rest would follow. He wanted me to:

Just. Want. Him.

Like He Just. Wants. Me.

And I learn and re-learn the lesson. He is so good, so gracious. I have to keep learning to fall flat on my face, give up, and then go, “OH!! Right!” I have to keep learning to come back to my first Love, to sing the foolish love songs, to forget about everything else and get lost in His Presence. I like to run! I like to go and do. My heart bleeds for so many people. I will never understand why I am held back from “doing more”…but I can say I am obedient by pursuing intimacy and stillness with Him, and I believe that means that what I am doing will be fruitful. That is of course by faith, because in my natural mind it doesn’t make sense nor does it seem to be enough!

The most important thing I can say here–to myself–to anyone–is that nothing else matters, nothing else is even lasting, if we have lost our first Love. If gazing in His eyes, eating His word, singing Him worship songs sounds dull or a waste of time or only for certain people, we are missing the whole entire point. I’m not saying all of our walk with God is emotional, private, or quiet. I am saying this intimacy is our root and then our life is the stem and branches, leaves and fruit. No root, then there will be nothing else, not for long.

“So after all this time

after all this journey

after all I’ve tried to be

You simplify, clear my mind

of all I could pursue

so I could just want You.”

 

When You Don’t Know How to Pray: Six Simple Prayers

Whether it’s a friend in the hospital, a family in the roughest season of their adoption journey, a natural disaster that has ravaged a country, or an ambulance driving by while you’re putting groceries in your car…something inside of us knows we need to pray. It’s innate, because God wants to let us in on His heart and actions for people.

I have went through the questions, like, “If God is good and loves people, then why do we need to pray? Will He not move on their behalf anyway, because of His own goodness and mercy?” I don’t know the answer, but I do know this, and it’s the most important thing I know about prayer: Anytime, anywhere, and with or without anybody, we can ask for a fresh revelation of the love of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit to appear and HE WILL DO IT. He will always be happy to reveal His love, either to us or to others, near, far, high, or low. He will always be happy to permeate any place with His Spirit, in increasing measure, AS WE PRAY. Y’all, that makes me want to pray, because this world needs a touch from the Lord and we can pray that in!

So, when there were several major prayer requests on my heart last week, the Lord gave this to me in my journal and I wanted to share it with you. It’s six simple prayers for when you feel led to pray for those in the human trafficking industry, missionaries having safety or health issues, or the news tells of another merciless earthquake.

  1. Lord, send Your Spirit in increasing measure to comfort and convict; send a fresh revelation of Your love and care!
  2. Raise up the local church around them, Lord, to hear Your voice and literally be Your hands and feet!
  3. Jesus, I ask that You would dismiss Satan and any plans he has to steal, kill, and destroy in this situation.
  4. Please send missionaries and aid workers, people of peace and angels of mercy.
  5. Lord, take over my finances and show me any money You want to be shared.
  6. Send me. My eyes and heart are open, now please open doors of opportunity for my family and I to step in and be part of a physical solution, if it is Your will.

So Much Freedom

A word that God continues to bring me back to this year is Freedom. Oh, I long to grasp what He is trying to give me! He is saying, “Lyndsay, there is so much freedom.”

Freedom from guilt. I struggle so much with guilt, and it is not from the Lord! Conviction, specific conviction, is from the Lord, but not guilt. Some of the things I feel guilty about is not having time for people outside of my home, like extended family, old friends, all the way to people around the world. This weighs heavily on me and God is calling me to just look to Him and trust HIM to give me opportunity to serve them when HE leads, not just because I feel a tug. I can’t give more than I actually have. I also struggle with guilt about not finding balance. With my health conditions, I really must eat well, sleep a lot, handle stress with prayer, yoga, exercise, and just keep a pretty regular routine. It’s frustrating to get sick and think it’s my fault, when I simply ate some sweets at a party (ok, several parties…Christmas is hard! Vacation is hard! Weekends are hard!)  I know the Lord is telling me that I need to operate from a heart of desiring wisdom, not rules or perfection or feeling trapped. He can work through me even when I’m down and out, but He gives me the freedom to choose a better way. He even gives me the freedom to choose joy and peace if I am sick. He gives me freedom to forgive myself and start again.

Also, another big one is freedom from fear. I have always thought of myself as fearless because I do it whether I’m afraid or not. My faith, because of God’s real presence in my life, has always been greater than my fear. Going to live in other countries alone, getting on stages, I wasn’t raised to do that! It doesn’t come naturally. But my purpose is stronger than my feelings. But fear comes in other forms. Like fear of disappointing people I love, fear that I won’t live up to the potential God wanted for me, and fear that I will forget and be left without valuable truths I’ve learned and priorities I have been given, beautiful memories and seasons of life. These are real fears! I am not strong enough to combat them on my own. But still God is saying, “Lyndsay, there is so much freedom.” He doesn’t want me focusing so hard on myself nor does He want me focusing on what may happen later. He gives us freedom regarding what we choose to focus on, isn’t that awesome?! He wants to set me free from trying to control what does or doesn’t happen to me and those I love. The more I trust Him, the less concerned I will be because my eyes are on who He is and on obeying Him in this moment. When your good Father is also your King, there is peace should you choose to accept it! And all we really have to give Him is this moment, right?

I think freedom comes when we let go of what we thought we had to have–to be happy, to be good, to be loved, to live a purposeful life–and we embrace that there is only One thing we actually are promised, only One thing we can keep in life and in death, and it’s not our family, our potential, our wise choices, or our legacy…it is the love of God. I am wrecked by the love of God! When I let it hit me, when I let that wave of His great love and mercy hit me, I can’t even see anything else. Even if all the guilts and fears and other issues were true and actually happened, I’d still be here, lost in the wave of His undying affection for me. It doesn’t mean we never think about anything or anyone else, it just means once His love takes the place in our lives that it deserves, everything else falls into lesser categories.

That is so much freedom.

Just Catching Up

So, I am taking a moment to sort of “re-surface” here on my blog and my music Facebook page…I have missed blogging, singing, recording, and sharing. This week, actually with being sick and in bed, I’ve been able to just stop, breathe, and think about things other than my daily norm and check in with some of these other loves.

My daily norm revolves around my family, my home, my church, and homeschooling. I am deep in “reclaiming my education” as I teach my kids, grades Pre-K,  1st, 3rd, and 7th. (I really am learning a lot that I missed along the way…I wonder what I was doing all that time I was supposed to be learning?) Anyway…we are in Classical Conversations for the Pre-K, 1st, and 3rd, and the 7th grader has a co-op she attends for some of her schoolwork, too. We love what we are doing this year. It’s a good challenge for us all, and we also have planned in some good breaks since we do a kind of “year-round” school.

I’ve been praying about how to add in Music and Missions again into this daily norm, and I feel like God is not only giving me peace about it, but answers! My goals for music are to make another CD in the next couple years, of hymns and original songs, and I’d also like to make a Christmas CD as well. This is probably the biggest goal and will definitely require the Lord’s hand!! Also, I’d like to keep putting videos of my songs on YouTube since this is a great way for people to hear them–my old songs as well as my new ones as I write them. Lastly, at least once a quarter, I want to lead worship or sing at a concert or cafe. Sometimes that will be hosting a Mom’s Night Out and just worshipping together, or going to the nursing home!

Then when it comes to Missions–well, our lives are already engrossed in Missions with our connection to Haiti, prayer for the nations and so many adopting families, and my husband’s ministry position which leads him to Zambia, as they partner with another crisis pregnancy center there. But something on my heart beyond these things is Sister Bridge, and especially seeing if I can find ministries that do these two things:

  1. Share the gospel with the women they employ.
  2. Focus on employing women who are trying to keep their family together (versus putting them up for adoption because they cannot feed them).

If you aren’t familiar with Sister Bridge, it is an opportunity for people here to buy products from women around the world, with no profit being made by anyone but the women. This year, I am doing a very small version of Sister Bridge and only getting items from Timbali Crafts (www.timbalicrafts.org) and the Apparent Project (www.apparentproject.org). This will be our first year with Apparent Project, and I am looking forward to learning more about them to know if I want to continue. I chose them because they are in Haiti, and are literally and directly helping moms keep their children. I’ve read that women wait and wait for an opportunity to work there. The more we can sell, the more women can get their foot in that very important door.

That’s a bit of an update and maybe soon I can write a little more often!

 

Seven Months Home

I was just reflecting today on all that has changed in the past seven months…well, I can go back even further and say the past year. This time last year, we had learned on Spring Break that there was a mistake in some paperwork which ended in a month-long delay, followed by very bad news in early summer that Orlanka would have to stay in Haiti another 3 months for a TB test. Multiple trips, multiple phone calls to doctors, and multiple prayers finally got our girls, Eva Orlanka and Zoe Woodjina, HOME at last. Our Gotcha Day was August 31st and we landed in Kentucky on September 2nd. Leaving the creche with them that day was just as sweet as I ever had dreamt it would be. They were overjoyed…no more goodbyes.

In seven months, we have definitely had joy but we’ve also definitely had sorrow. One child more than the other really misses the people she loved in Haiti (as expected). There is insecurity at times and lots of need for gentleness and affection, which sometimes in my rush to teach and take care of four kids I’m sad to say I have to be reminded of. Stories and memories come to their minds often about their life before us, and I am recording those. I often ask them to draw pictures and try to remember details. We are blessed they have each other, so they’ll never lose those precious pieces of their identity.  Nighttimes can be hard sometimes; I still sit with them until they fall asleep (thank you, my friend Melatonin!) At first, one child complained that at the orphanage the nanny would sleep on the floor of the kids’ bedroom, so she liked it better there. (I kind of wish I had a picture of my face at that moment. It would be funny now.) We definitely work through strategies for fear at times, and those times are becoming less often. There have been a few instances where they had an idea in their minds of how something would be, only to find out it’s not–such as ice cream. They just recently got to where they can actually eat it. Before, it was too cold, and it wasn’t purple and sparkly like they had seen in pictures (darn Lisa Frank)! They can definitely have their picky moments, their complaining moments, and their unreasonable moments, like all kids.

But the joys…wow. These girls in themselves are an absolute joy. They love to go, they’re also happy to stay. They are quick to obey and want to get along well with their sisters. They have enjoyed every friend we’ve gotten together with and LOVE their grandparents (how could they not though?) They are thankful and they are loving. I didn’t share this with many people before they came home, but the personality and behavior of one of our girls (while living in the creche) was beyond challenging. I was truly worried about how her moods would affect our home. She is honestly the most stable and easy going person in this crazy household!! It is amazing and God gave me a wonderful surprise in her!! They love to learn, and oh how they love their Daddy. One day when I was in the other room, I heard Eva say to Jack (my husband, her dad), “I said to God, ‘God, will you give me a Daddy?’ And He DID!” We all cried…imagining her praying that prayer, the joy of it now answered. Yes, God does settle the lonely in families; yes, He does hear their cry!!

I remember when the girls first came they were so fascinated with/we kept running out of:

Toilet paper

Eggs (they would eat 4 or 5 at a sitting, and 2 or 3 a couple hours later!)

Band-aids

Ice

Barbecue (yes, the meat, the sauce, anything bbq related!!)

These things have calmed down now. They still always want to know what we’re having for each meal, and always want to know if they can have more (long before they’re done with what they have). We’ve finally figured out how to handle some of the more difficult “meal issues” and they only overeat pizza and spaghetti (understandable?!) They do so well with rewards, chores, homeschool, imaginative play, asking with respect, and even talking about their feelings and sharing their problems. Their ability to speak English has increased exponentially, and most sentences they say are about 50/50 Kreyol/English. I’ll end this blog today with two English sentences said to me recently. The first is so completely precious, it’s one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me:

Eva (6): “Mom, your face, my present.” (I know!!! Heart melted!!!)

And another, sweet in its own way:

Zoe (5): “Mom, I coming, but I not want to bring my fart to you.”

 

Thanks for journeying with us. There are lots of ups and downs, just like with any family, but we are certainly learning to love and lean on Jesus and therefore are very, very blessed. 🙂

 

 

 

When You Don’t Know How Long You Can Keep This Up

Have you ever felt, about a relationship or circumstance or job, that you can’t see yourself going on like “this” for long? Every now and then, when you get really real with yourself, do you feel that?

The other night I was halfway asleep, but my mind and heart were busy trying to get to the bottom of   why I have been so tired…cranky…joy-less, perspective-less! And this question came to mind: “In what parts of your life would you say, ‘I don’t know how long I can keep this up’?” And I thought through each part, each category, of my daily life, assessing how I felt about each. I came to the conclusion that there were actually several things that I love, but that also held a certain dread and anxiety, a fear of how long I can last for the long haul.

For me, it is the daily-ness of it all, the doing & re-doing of Each.Bless-ed.Thing.One.Million.Times. It’s getting up, meeting needs, (remembering my own), quieting the soul to seek the heart of God, serving, exercising, cooking, cleaning, shopping, schooling, soothing insecure hearts, smoothing miscommunications, learning to tame the tongue and live loving and love living…

For others it may be caring for a special needs child or a parent whose health is failing. It may be a very difficult marriage or a particularly hard season in school or work. Maybe it’s months of looking for a job, trying to complete an adoption, losing weight, breaking free from an addiction, or even paying off debt.

Can we last for the long haul? How can we last for the long haul?

We are not 100% spiritual; God gave us bodies and minds to care for, too. Physically, mentally, emotionally and socially, we have to be adults (darn it) and see to it that we invest in ourselves. We’ll reap what we sow. We are free to make changes about a lot of things in our lives. That has been a beautiful thought to me lately–all the freedom the Lord has given us in this lifetime! It’s crazy how easily I forget the choices I do get to make, about my circumstances often and my attitude always.

But even in the most disciplined, or even in the people with the best perspective and sunniest disposition, I think that all of us are met with seasons, relationships, jobs, health issues, or circumstances, that make us put one foot in front of the other and we really don’t know when the day will come that we just can’t take one more step. We can keep our game face on for only so long.

The race is hard, the cross is heavy, and we just don’t wanna anymore. Sometimes.

And God knows it, and expects it, and He is so good to provide the answer in a way that benefits us so deeply…He answers it with Himself.

He answers our limits with His limitlessness. He meets our lack with His abundance.

His Word is full of reminders that He is a fountain that never runs dry, He is the Vine and we are the branches, and He is the Bread of Life, daily manna, who gives sustenance in our desert. He actually really is these things…and He says, “Come and abide.” Come and plug in, come and refuel, come and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing, come and be still and know that He is God and He is good and He is enough. Come and know that while this is our race, it’s not a race, and we can breathe and enjoy and receive…a lot more and more often than we do.

Just a few words from my reading in 2 Thessalonians 2 and 3 today, so fitting after journaling about this very thought right before opening my Bible:

2 Thess. 2:16 “May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good word and deed.”

2 Thess. 3:3-5 “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”

2 Thess. 3:13 “And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is right.”

2 Thess. 3:16 “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”

We can keep going like this, if HE has called us to, because HE will keep going like this. There will never be a morning we have to wake up and do life without Him, never. We have what it takes because He has what it takes, and He says ALL that is His is ours! It’s scary to not have reserves. I cannot preserve my energy or perspective or even love or hope for tomorrow. I can’t trust in myself. But I can put my trust in the One that never sleeps, never forgets, and never loses heart.

 

 

Something I’m Learning

Yeah, that’s a pretty vague title, but I don’t have time to be clever! I wanted to name it “Prioritizing My Husband (in other words, what I have not been doing for the past 6 months)” but that was too long 🙂

The other day in my morning time with the Lord (and often with Zoe), I was praying for Jack and using the book The Power of a Praying Wife. I quite randomly turned to the chapter/prayer entitled “His Priorities” and began praying for him. But that particular prayer started with praying for HIS WIFE’s priorities before praying for his. At first, I admit, I thought, “Well, sure, I know I stink at this, but what choice do I have? It’s not like I have more time or more attention or more energy to give…” as if I was exempt, as if somehow it didn’t apply to me.

Just a few sentences in, even though I had prayed through these pages before, the Lord was definitely talking to me! I wrote in my journal, asking the Lord to help me learn how to prioritize my husband. Over these past few days, I’ve realized it’s more of an attitude than a list of more I have to do. Marriage is hard work, especially when you feel like you have nothing left to give or you have a hard time getting in sync due to all.these.other.people.in.the.house or just thinking completely different thoughts about completely different things all day long. For me, the difficulty stems from being an introvert and craving time alone, so when a moment of silence arises, I don’t necessarily want to give it up, or when free time surfaces (hahahahaha, but someday it will), I want to THINK MY OWN THOUGHTS! There’s nothing wrong with that, but eventually, BOTH need to be regular things: time for me to unwind and recharge, and time for US to unwind and recharge together. Anyway, here are some thoughts on that attitude change…and how I’m noticing the Holy Spirit lead me in learning how to prioritize my husband. They sound so simple, but I wasn’t feeling responsible to do them and I have a far way to go.

  1. When he tries to say something, (yep, 5 girls in the house) take a second to tell the kids their dad is talking and I want to hear what he’s saying. Ask them to wait. Turn my face AND eyes to him until he’s done.
  2. Whether I really want to think about what he’s talking about or not (again, we are thinking different thoughts about a multitude of things all day long so it takes me a while to get on the same page), LISTEN. Give positive feedback even if I can’t give a definitive answer.
  3. Respectfully, not with a major annoyed sigh, tell him when I just can’t listen right now and ask him if he would please remember to talk to me about that the next time we will see each other, such as certain nights after the kids are in bed or Sunday afternoon while they are “resting” in their room.
  4. One more detail about the listening: Always recognize and say out loud that I can see how that might be a good idea, and show respect instead of quickly announcing “that won’t work”, “that’s not what I’m wanting to do”, “that doesn’t make sense to me”…I married a very intelligent, creative man, yet often I act like if he has a plan that doesn’t make sense to me or that goes a different direction than I anticipated, that it will be disastrous. That’s rude and arrogant of me. This wife has got to learn to share the load when it comes to plans and decisions!
  5. Answer texts from him as immediately as I can, and take time to text him at least once throughout the day.
  6. Answer or return a call from him, even if it means our routine gets messed up a little!
  7. Love what he loves. I don’t mean I’m going to follow his hobbies (i.e. looking online at vintage cars, adoring manly men’s beards- oh my, he needs some free time to get some real hobbies!) but I do mean that when he is excited about something, wants me to come, wants me to get on board, I need to at least share the enthusiasm. If I can physically be there, I want to be there, bring the kids, make it a big deal, buy the t-shirt. I can’t do everything. In fact, I can do very little. But I need to be willing to try, to see, if it’s possible to rearrange some things to be by his side.
  8. Pray for him. I’ve always prayed for Jack daily, and I want to continue in this, asking him more often how he would like me to pray for him. Maybe I can start doing this on Sunday afternoon, write the need down somewhere I’ll daily see it, and check in and see how that situation is going the next Sunday. It’s not a rule, just an idea.
  9. Show appreciation for sacrifices and hard work. “Thank you for going to work today! Thank you for coming home! You are crucial and needed in both places!” I need to LET Jack make sacrifices and do things for me more, kindling thankfulness in my heart that I truly should already have.
  10. Find a way to make special time with him happen. I have to get in bed earlier than most adults on the planet, but surely one time a month I can rent a movie, get some of our favorite snacks, and stay up late just us two on the couch for a stay-at-home date. Someday we’ll get to date again and when we do, we will make space in the budget for it, and my girls will see that even though it’s a sacrifice to leave them behind for an afternoon, marriage is an important relationship one can’t take for granted. Until then, I want them to see that my attitude and heart toward their dad is one of gratitude, enjoyment, and respect.

 

 

 

A Moment to Write…

Right now, as I write, there are 4 girls (Selah, Yemi, and two of their friends) upstairs making cake pops while soup for dinner boils on the  stove top…and I am downstairs keeping the little sisters out of their hair!

So, I guess that means: We have found our normal?!

Really, it means that things are going well. We are enjoying Fall Break, and have been very happy to see how easy going the girls can be with going places and missing a snack time here and there. Before Fall Break, we started each day with worship, breakfast, playtime, connection time, then school with Yemi while the girls played quietly, and then school with the littles on the kitchen floor. We really enjoy it, but there is a lot of “herding cats” in those hours! Then a few days of the week we have some activities we go to after lunch. So, we’ve enjoyed a (even more) laid-back routine and several trip to playgrounds, stores, seeing the Little Mermaid at the PAC, and even two restaurants. They thoroughly enjoyed it all. One of the best things to happen this week is that we met up with some friends of Eva and Zoe from Haiti!!!

Yes, Eva and Zoe! I’m surprised but they already are asking to be called by their English names. We gave them these names because of their spiritual meaning–they are a prophetic blessing over them. They mean newness of life and abundant life. I didn’t know if they would use them or not. They’ll always have the option in the future as well.

Let me tell you a little bit about Eva. She’s a really good helper and enjoys being a big girl SO much. She loves to help in the kitchen and she does a very good job! Every day at supper she still says, “I want BIG chicken!” No matter what it is, whether they’re asking for ice or pushes on the playground, they want “anpil, anpil” which means “a lot, a lot!” She loves to play Memory and is really good at it! She likes to sing and sings along at nighttime and in worship time! She has a really tender heart. She can be stubborn and pouty, like every kid, but is reasonable and lets me hold her and help her get regulated again.

And Zoe. She’s hilarious. She loves to laugh, run, and just be silly. She has went from very silent crying and avoiding eye contact in that first week, to tons of affection, hugs, and nice loud wailing when she hurts herself 🙂 She comes to be comforted, and she enjoys lots of snuggles especially from me and Selah! It’s bad but it’s also really funny…when she gets mad at someone, she says “kaka” (poop) under her breath. She’s also singing along to songs…especially (thank you so much, Yemi) “Shake Your Booty”. She and Eva both are good at art, and love Barbies. Their major investment of time one day this week was to put the entire head of hair of several Barbies into braids and beads. Zoe can also get stubborn and pouty, too, but it’s usually short lived with a few minutes on my lap.

We’ve had to start on the medical stuff…bloodwork, immunizations, seeing some followup docs from the whole TB mess. I’m not ready for this and I do not like it one bit. I would have liked to have waited until they had been home at least six months but it wasn’t under my control unfortunately.

The hardest things for me have been the same as any mom, i think!

  1. Being an introvert but having no time alone…I literally ate an ice cream bar that my friend brought me IN THE BATHROOM and they said, “ou fini? ou fini? ou fini?” outside the door until I came out! I never thought I would do that! Ha!
  2. Helping siblings learn to love and accept one another. For the most part, everyone gets along very well, but I think this transition has been the hardest on sweet Yemi. She’s 8 and starting to grow up, but still loves all the small child stuff, too. She’s trying to decide: “Do I want to be a triplet with these littles?” or “Do I want to set myself apart a little as a big sister?” She’s the same size pretty much as the girls, even though they are 2 and 3 years younger than her. She’s done such an amazing job sharing SO much of her stuff!! Room, clothes, all the toys except what is on her “special shelf”, and, well, her parents! That’s not easy but sharing hasn’t been an issue for her. All the kids need a lot of one-on-one support right now.
  3. Going back into “real life.” For a few weeks, I didn’t clean, cook, shop, or pay any attention to my phone or emails or calendar. It was so blissful…I thought, “I can do this!!” But then I started to realize all that I couldn’t leave to grow weeds forever. You know, like the checkbook and the refrigerator…Now we are putting things on the calendar and going places and while I make precious few commitments, with 6 people, there are commitments. And it’s good. It’s real life, and I love all we do…it’s just that this is the real transition for me.

 

Updates and Praise Reports

Hi everyone!

I wanted to share a quick update with my precious friends/family/prayer warriors:

First of all, Orlanka was able to get in with a wonderful new doctor and she had all the necessary TB testing (and more) at Gheskio, a good hospital in Port-au-Prince. The two ministries that helped this appointment happen were Ti Kay Haiti  and Empower Haiti Together. New friends from these ministries truly were a vessel for the Lord to answer so many prayers!

Secondly, the first two TB tests came back NEGATIVE (praise the Lord!!) and I was there in Haiti to get that report personally a couple of weeks ago. Orlanka did have a fever at that time, and some kind of lung infection was detected while I was there, and she started an antibiotic immediately.  I had a really good visit with Orlanka and Woodjina. There were certainly some hard parts, but our goodbye was calm and peaceful, which shows trust is being built and that’s possibly the best I can hope for in these absurd circumstances.

Today, I actually got to FaceTime with Orlanka, who was at the hospital for an appointment with her new doctor. This doctor could not be more of an answer to prayer. She called me while Orlanka was in her office so that we could FaceTime!! She said she was finished with her antibiotic and looking much better. She also told me she personally checked on Orlanka’s sputum sample, that it was still negative at this time, and that the lab technician said the test will be finished August 19. (Basically, the lab has to wait a full 56 days to make sure her sample doesn’t grow bacteria/”become positive.”) That’s a couple days later than I had thought, but still in the same week I was expecting. I don’t know the exact steps or who does what afterwards, but when the time comes, our associates in Haiti will be getting the report to the Embassy and Lord willing within a week or two, we’ll get her visa and bring both girls home. Lord willing, that means they could be home early September if not before. (There I go saying dates again…I know better…but I can’t help it!!)

Knowing the challenges ahead with language, personalities, grief, culture shock, changes, food, and only God knows what else, we are praying and preparing…but also feeling really ready. It’s kind of like training for a race. At some point, you’re just like, “ENOUGH! I’m as ready as I’m going to get! We’ll deal with whatever when it comes.” This whole journey I’ve imagined as an ocean, and I keep stepping farther and farther away from the shore. Sometimes I have felt like I was drowning and sometimes like I was walking on water, feeling okay with the waves, feeling resilient. It requires so much faith to have no idea what kind of needs or personality or age or the history of a child God will chose to be your son or daughter, or how high and rough the mountain ahead to get to them will be. It’s just a blind jump of obedience. And we keep going further into the unknown as we choose to love those people He gives us. It is always and completely His miraculous life at work in us to do this.

The miracle of getting them home is INDEED a miracle. The miracle of loving them with the love of Christ all of our days is a much greater one. Keep praying for us, and know we are SO grateful for the love, prayers, and support we have received! I feel like, together, we have lived out so many portions of Scripture through these hard times…and may we continue doing so!

We’ll keep everyone updated; hoping to have some great news to share soon! 🙂

Faith Off the Shelf

In all honesty, it feels like a very long time since my faith has been “on the shelf.” I need the Lord all the time and am lost without Him, even on a normal day. Either I’m a wimp, or He has called me to some big tasks, I don’t know which, but it doesn’t matter. He puts me in situations, and has since I gave my life to Him, where I must have faith, where I must believe His word is true even when all I feel is fear and all I see are obstacles. In job situations, relationship issues, learning how to parent kids from hard places, the decision to go back to homeschooling…I kinda thought I was at my full faith potential already!

And then God allowed our adoption to go on a really unexpected path, as if it hadn’t taken enough scary and hard turns in the past 2.5 years! Just when I thought I could not take anymore (and by the way I totally let God know this status update), He did allow things to get worse. At this moment, I have no idea what He is doing or why He hasn’t delivered us yet. I can’t see one step in front of me. There’s nothing else I personally can do, at least not right now, besides pray. I don’t know how or when we’ll get past this, but I know the Lord has a plan. There have been moments I wasn’t sure though.

I needed two major components to come together at the same time in the same intensity.

This confusing, painful trial (component one) had to go head to head with the promises in the Word of God (component two)!

And when they do, even in the worst moments, even in the darkest news, there’s a light.

Faith is activated when we speak and believe God’s Word in a situation that begs to differ, in a situation that looks like quite the opposite of His heart, His character, and what we understand to be His will.

There are dozens of promises God has used to activate my faith here and now in this nightmare with my girls–Isaiah 43, John 14-17, Romans 8, & so many more. But there are two passages in particular that have challenged me to hold on to them:

  1. Luke 18:1-8 The parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow: The widow day after day tells the judge her case; eventually even though he really doesn’t care, she wears him out and he gives her justice. Then Jesus says: “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly! However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
  2. John 20:29 The story of Thomas’ moment of doubt: Jesus has risen from the dead, everyone is super excited, and Thomas says ‘no way, not until I touch where the nails were will I believe He’s alive!’ And all of a sudden, there Jesus is, standing before him, in the flesh. He says, ‘go ahead, friend!’ Then Thomas believes, after touching his side. And dear Jesus says: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

I can tell God all day long what I believe His job is. He is so kind to let me. But He also wants to tell me my job.

He invites me to persevere in prayer, He wants to find his children asking, showing they haven’t grown bitter and too disappointed to come.

And He invites me to believe He is good, wise, loving, and in control long before I see it with my eyes.

“I am not ashamed, because I know Whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.” 1 Tim. 1:12