Deuteronomy 4:35

You have been shown these things that you might know the Lord is God besides him there is no other.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Can't Help Sobbing

Check out this Matthew West video. He was inspired by an adoption story and wrote this new song. The video lets you see into his reason for writing and what the song is all about. Can't help, but sobbing as I feel the words behind this song so deeply. This is definitely the story that our family is walking..One Less Orphan soon enough as God brings our daughter home to us! AMEN!

(Stop the music at the bottom of the page before watching.)

One Less by Matthew West (The Story Behind The Song) from emicmg on Vimeo.

EEEK!!! Another Distraction!

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 26:12

A Mouse that is of whom I shall be afraid!! I spent most of my time at church Tuesday night leading the women's Bible study from on top of a chair. We recently tore down a building in our neighborhood that most likely housed many of these critters and now one has taken up residence in our church building. Well, our little friend decided to make an appearance on Tuesday night while 15 of us ladies were trying to catch a glimpse of David through the study of 1 Chronicles. Keeping our eyes on the word and our minds on David sure was hard with our new little friend darting in and out! Which led me to think about just how many distractions there are in this world. They come at you from all sides and often when you least expect it. We had to fight with all we were to stay focused on the Word for our hour and a half study. We were in church with the intention to study and still there was this distraction.

This is really a picture of my life lately. There have definitely been seasons in my spiritual journey when nothing could keep me from my quiet time and study. I was thirsty for God and desired Him above all else, but there are also seasons when I have to make myself study because I know it's good for me. Now is the one of those have to force myself seasons. I am struggling to keep my study of God's word a priority and each day has been a battle. Despite my less than enthusiastic approach to His Word, God still reveals Himself to me daily through it and I continue to preserve through my studying because I know it is invaluable to my faith. I also understand that it is the primary means through which God speaks to me. The world is full of so much to pull me away from Him and what He wants to tell me. Sometimes I just have to shut the door, turn off the phone, and open up my heart and my trusty blue Bible. I have been fighting with all that's in me to make that choice lately. Praying that you are in a season of your spiritual life when you can't get enough of God and through perseverance, I will join you there again soon! What a treasure we have in our God who loves us despite our own struggles.

(At least, this critter had the opportunity to hear the gospel. LOL!)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Having Patience While Waiting

Have patience..he says. You can't change it..he says. We will go when it tells us..he says. I love my man for his calm, rational call for patience as I am ripping open our letter from the Department of Homeland Security all the while jumping up and down with disgust!! It is true there is absolutely no way for us to control this paper chase and the time that it is taking. He is 100% right when he says that we just have to go when the papers tell us, but I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT! We did finally receive our fingerprint appointment and it is not until October 20..A Whole Month From Now! This process was only "supposed" to take a month to complete. Our paperwork has been there a month already and we can't go for fingerprinting for another month. UGH!! I know that screaming and shouting (or writing in all capital letters for that matter) won't change a thing, but somehow it helps me feel better to let God know that I think this wait stinks. I know He loves me and He knows what is best. I know that He has all of this laid out for His purpose and in His time we will finally hold our daughter, but gosh it's hard. Hoping the days until Oct. 20 fly by and God gives me a good dose of patience to carry me through to the end of this journey.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Confession to Make

Last week was homecoming week at my darling kiddo's school. Homecoming week means lots of activities. Dressing up for theme days, volleyball games, the school carnival, and the bike parade are just a few of the most fun things they participate in. For darling kiddo this week is fun-filled excitement. For this momma it is a week full of a lot of extra work..buying/making costumes for each day, attending the carnival, and making the decorations for the bike parade.

Fitting all this extra into an already full week is not easy. This is my darling kiddo's last year to participate in the bike parade because she will be in jr. high next year. She really wanted to win. She came up with a theme for her scooter..FBCS (her school name) LAND ON THE EAGLES. She wanted to make an airplane to wear around the scooter so she could be the FBCS pilot landing on the Eagles (our opponent for the big homecoming game). This was all cute and good until I realized how much work, time, and effort this idea would add to my week. I entered into this project with a less than ideal attitude.

About half way through this bike decorating adventure, God spoke to my heart. As my darling kiddo gets older, she needs me less and less. She spends less and less time just hanging out beside me crafting and playing. She has her own agenda, her own independence, and is gaining her own life. My point is..I should have embraced this bike project because she needed me to be in it. It gave me a chance to spend two days alongside her creating her scooter masterpiece. She desperately wanted my advice, needed my help with the spray paint can, and wanted me to be next her the entire time. This is exactly what I say I want the opportunity to do as she grows older. Why was my heart so harden and why was I spending so much time complaining and wishing this event away? WOW..did I get hit right between the eyes. As we were just finishing up and running to Hobby Lobby for some last minute supplies, I said to her as we were walking in..Thank you for letting me help you with this project. I love being your momma and spending this time with you has been precious! She smirked and rolled her eyes a bit, but I couldn't leave it unsaid. Taking time to be a momma should never be a nuisance or a chore. I should embrace every chance that I get to build into her life. I had so many opportunities to talk with her and share my faith with her as we built this plane, but my attitude was so lousy..I almost missed it!!

Lesson Learned (AGAIN) Embrace being a mom and don't let the business of the world steal every moment you have to spend with the precious children God has given you.
P.S. Did you notice the blue ribbon in the picture? We won the bike parade!!

Please Pray

So as minor as waiting on paperwork seems in the scheme of all that is happening in the lives of many around is really getting me down. I had this idealized perception that since this process had been moving along at such a quick pace that would continue. I even let myself think that we could be bringing our daughter home before summer. Well, this week has given me a good dose of reality and reminded me once again (needed this a lot lately) that God is ultimately in control of this wait and I can't do a thing about it!! Our paperwork has been at the NBC for twenty days already and we still don't have our fingerprinting appointment. The entire NBC process was only supposed to take thirty days.. OH THE WAITING!!! Please pray for patience for our family as we keep on waiting.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Amazing Way to Start the Day!

Today is one of my favorite days of the whole year-See you at the Pole. SYATP is an annual event that takes place this time in September around school flagpoles across the country. Students gather before school near their flags to pray. What a tremendous privilege to begin our day in prayer with the students we love so much!! I was at Broadmoor this morning with some of my favorite young ladies and a few others who joined.

As classmates walked by, there we stood-around the flagpole-hand in hand praying aloud for those who don't know Jesus, the teachers, the administrators, our country, and anything else God laid on our hearts. There I was surrounded by my twelve and thirteen year old girls whose faith is so beautiful and so inspiring doing exactly what God calls us to do and that is live out our faith by being a light to all around us.

What a HUGE and BEAUTIFUL blessing it is to live life alongside these girls. They are amazing! The Lord is written Himself all over them and I am so lucky to be able to help bring them along in their faith. Love you Ladies!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I, I, I!!!

So last night the shared list of children eligible for adoption was released by the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs and while it would have been truly miraculous that we would have received a match so quickly..I still dreamed we would. With everything in me, I want to know this child! I want to see her face and etch it into my heart. I want to know who she is and I want to be able to put a timeline on this journey. I so desperately want to call her daughter and hear her say momma. I want to know that she is fed, cared for, and loved. I want her to know how much we love her. I want to know her needs so that I can begin to prepare. I want..I want..I want..Instead, I am still filled with so much that is uncertain and so many questions. There is an awful lot of I in my heart today and while there are times that all I want is all Jesus wants-it doesn't happen very often. Usually, I am very busy watching out for me and keeping my eyes and heart on what I want and desire-not on God's plan for me. While I know that this waiting is God's plan and He is in control, some days it just plain hurts to not have Jill here. Today is one of those days... When that is the case, I need to focus more on the Lord and less on me- trusting that He knows Jill by name already and He has ordained this road for us.

For I know the plans I have for you" says the Lord "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Without Words

This is one of those times that I am so overwhelmed by what God is speaking through a book that I just finished that I am without words. I just finished reading The Hole in Our Gospel by Rich Stearns. To say that this book challenged me to see Jesus' heart more clearly and live out the gospel differently would be an understatement. I can't recommend this book enough.. Check out this interview with Rich..Worth the ten minutes.

How will I respond to this challenge? God is doing some radical, scary stuff in our hearts at my house. Exciting but whoa what an adventure this is...Praying that God continues to keep my eyes open to His heart and that I will begin to answer His call to reach the poor and least of these.

Hot Potatoes

So last weekend our youth ministry had the opportunity to serve at the Marigold Festival in the beautiful town in which we live. The booth that our church sponsors serves baked potatoes complete with cheese, chili, onion, butter, sourcream..YUM! We bake 'em and serve 'em up all weekend to the masses.

The money that we make is used for our youth mission fund. Because it supports our youth trip, we had lots of our great kids out helping this weekend!!


The greatest thing about this weekend was some of the hardest workers weren't our youth at all. These three young ladies (including my darling kiddo)don't benefit at all from the funds raised because they are too young to go on the youth mission trip, but that didn't keep them from serving.

They were working hard to be the hands and feet of Jesus all weekend. You girls rock! We appreciate you sooo much! Can't wait to have you in youth group!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


We are one piece of paper closer to our daughter. We got our confirmation letter from the NBC today. The next piece of paper to arrive will give us a date with the fingerprinting peeps-probably in Naperville..which means another trip to the city! Wahooo!! Then, we wait for the background check via the fingerprints and clearance from the US government. We are closer yet we still have many more pieces of paper to go until we hold Jillian in our arms. Getting her home is all we are talking about in our family. We are all getting very excited!! (Even darling kiddo-who shows little to no emotion about most things has been smiling at the thought!) Can't help, but smile when I think about chubby toddler hands in mine!! As much as I adore being a momma to an almost teenager-Oh how I look forward to be a momma to a little girl again! We are sooo very blessed that God is allowing us to live out this adventure! Please pray that all continues to go along as God has planned for us and that we will be accepting of and patient in His plan.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Do you have people in your life that you love so much you just can't help feeling JOY when you get to spend time with them? My darling kiddo is one of those people in my life. We spent the last two days together, just she and I, at a volleyball tournament in Chicago. We didn't go to Disney World, spend lots of money, or visit any high tech thrilling destinations. We just mostly sat side by side in a gym surrounded by her teammates watching volleyball games, talking, and eating fast food. BUT what a wonderful two days it was because she was next to me. Kiddo + me + a crew of her giggling, sweet friends = pure joy to this momma!

I can't imagine my life without her and I can't imagine not having her as my daughter. I can't imagine not being able to sit by her, talk with her, and hug her. I can't imagine not being there to share her struggles, joys, and my faith with her each and every day! I can't imagine living out circumstances in which I would be forced to give her up. I can't imagine it, but that is exactly what my adoptive daughter's birth mother is going to have to live out. These are the exact circumstances that she is going to be walking. These are the circumstances that God is going to allow her birth mother to face in order to bring her to me. Adoption is a process that involves a good dose of loss-especially for Jillian's birth mother. Jill's birth mother is not going to know the joy of sitting with her in a gym for two days watching volleyball. She is not going to have the chance to share her struggles or victories as she lives out this life. While I don't now know, or may never know, the circumstances surrounding Jillian's birth mother's decision to let her go so that she might have hope for a better life-I know for sure it couldn't have been an easy one to make. I have been praying for this sweet mother a lot lately as I can't imagine the emotion she is experiencing. As I think about this woman and all that she is going through, I am praying that she has some people in her life that can pass along the greatest Joy I know-that is a relationship with my Savior. I am praying specifically that God will put people in her life to lead her to Him, to give her healing, and to ease her own pain. I love her with a love that I don't even understand because she has embraced so much loss so that her sweet girl could become mine. I pray that God's hand will be all over this story and that Jill will feel the incredible, sacrificial love of God because of her birth mother's sacrificing love for her.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Wonderful Wednesday!

So on Wednesday, I had the pleasure of watching a friend's little girl. She is absolutely adorable, active, and full out toddler! My house looked like a toy store exploded in it and I LOVED IT!!! This evening just reminded me of the adventure we are in for.. Oh How I have forgotten..Everything full must be emptied, everything high must be climbed, and everything new must be explored. She must have asked why a hundred times and it was out right precious!!!!

The most wonderful thing about Wednesday was watching my darling kiddo love on this little girl. She was so worried about her falling and keeping her safe that she followed this little girl around all night as if she were the great protector. She tried to entertain her, play games with her, and even tried to teach her to play the piano. One of the things that I most look forward to when Jill gets here is seeing my darling preteen girl become a big sis. I love watching her lovin' on other little kiddos! It is worth so much to this momma's heart..PRICELESS!! I know that God is gonna use my girl in the life of her little sis! I can't wait to see it! What a wonderful role model she will be.

One thing is for sure..there is some baby proofing that is gonna need to be done around here! Don't worry Jill we are working on getting this grown up environment all set for you. We'll have it ready in time for you to come home! (Just can't wait for that moment!!)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Darling Kiddo and DH are at a volleyball game in Rockford tonight and our house is very still. This just doesn't happen. The quiet is overpowering and while I enjoy being alone in the quiet on rare occasions-it is not a place I choose to hang out. This summer on our youth mission trip one of the devo days was titled:More Be. Less Do. This is a tough concept for me as I am very much a doer. My grandma always says I am going to run myself to death. To which I often respond-Well then, I can rest when I'm dead. While most of what I do is good-there is something really useful about that devo lesson. When I am free to simply be-He is more easily found. God is just found in stillness and the quiet..It's all over scripture. I think of the story of Elijah who found God in the gentle whisper and the Psalm that reminds us BE STILL and know that I am God. I know that there are a good lot of times that I am simply too busy doing that I miss God altogether. So instead of loathing the stillness and wishing it away, I am choosing to open my Bible and dig deep. I am going to choose to be still and listen for God.. I know that when I have a toddler in foot-these times of stillness are going to be even rarer than they are now...Can't wait! Until then, I wil embrace the stillness..:)

Sunday, September 5, 2010


We were able to spend an amazing day with two of our college girls in their new surroundings in Chicago yesterday. To say that I am inspired by the faith, strength, and steadiness of these two wonderful young ladies would be an understatement.

They both left our small area and headed to the big city for school this year. With the Lord anchored securly in their hearts, they have set out into this world intending to walk strongly and tirelessly for our Lord! They each have moved and amist new surroundings and people-they haven't missed one Sunday in worship. They haven't missed a beat. They are working hard to stay connected to God and the church.

We were able to visit Willowcreek Community Church which is the new home church for one of our girls. We walked in with thousands of other people and to say that I was intimidated would be a gross under exageration of how I was feeling. I had no idea where to park, sit, go..nothing. And to think one of my sweet girls walked in alone two Sundays ago-sought out the twenty something ministry-and activly pursued a chance to worship God when she had only been in the city a few days is soooo encouraging. What an awesome faith..

The other fingured out the complicated train system..took it into the city..and met up with the only other soul she knows in the area to go on another train to worship!! What an example these young people are to me sometimes. Would I seek out worship so immediatly and go to such uncomfortable lengths to get there or would I have put it off a few Sundays while I settled in? I am inspired by these girls and praying them on each and every step of the way!!

The Check IS in the Mail

Addressing the envelope, signing the forms, and wrapping it all up!WOW!! Paperwork is ready and off to the NBC.

The check is in the mail!! All that is left to do is wait for them to approve our paperwork so that we can send it on. This is the last stop for our paperwork in the US. After the NBC, we are officially ready to send our paperwork to China. WOOOHOOOO!! If all continues at this rate, we may see her face around the first of the year and be bringing her home this spring! God has sure moved this along and I am grateful!! We are coming Jill! You have no idea how much we love and want you here baby girl! Hold on...We'll be there soon!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's Here!!!

So, my husband has known since sometime this afternoon that our home study approval(the one piece of paper we have been waiting for that has been keeping us from moving on to the next step)was here and he just casually mentions it tonight about 7:00 PM!! Can you believe him?? We were with the teens in youth group when he told us and to say I shouted with joy would be an understatement.

The most amazing thing about this journey so far is how God's hand is all over it. You see I filled out most of the paperwork months ago. Got it all done in one shot. All the letters, forms, everything we needed for every step. I figured that I might as well do it instead of waiting for the paperwork to be needed. That way, the papers are just waiting nicely in my filing system to be sent off. The only tricky thing about this is that you have to date everything. Well back in July when I wrote the letters to the National Benefits Center (that is the next place our paper work is headed), I wrote September 1, 2010 on the top..hoping and praying that by Sept. 1 we would be ready to send it off. Well today is Sept. 1 and I thought my "deadline" was passing by without notice. BUT we received our paper today from our Home Study Agency. We are indeed ready to mail off the next round on Sept. 1st as I had hoped!! God is so good and this is just another example of how His hand is all over this. To think, I spent a good fifteen minutes this afternoon in tears over this wait and sulking that my Sept. 1 deadline was about to pass while all along..He was waiting for me to discover that He had indeed opened the door for us again! Why is it that I doubt and become discouraged so easily? The waiting and trusting is so hard, but oh so worth it!

We headed to Starbucks, as a family of three, for a coffee treat at 9:30 tonight to celebrate. Hope our trips as three will soon end and we will have an Asian toddler in toe sipping right along side us sooner than later!!

Crowded on the Couch

So we were all jammed on the couch last night wrestling around and I thought (and said out loud) soon we'll have one more to fit on this couch!! (Soon is a relative term as the waiting at this point is taking forever it seems.) Then my darling kiddo switched my cell phone to international time mode and we checked the time in China. We were getting ready to go to bed but half a world away it was almost lunch time. Which leads my mind off and running in a million different directions..Is Jillian born yet? Has she been abandoned? Does she have someone to feed her lunch? Who is holding her? Does she have any surgeries or medical procedures that she is facing without her momma by her side? And then the tears start to flow. There are days that the waiting is bareable and then there are others that just rip me to shreds. My heart is broken that my beautiful girl is living this part of her life without me while I wait for government agencies to shuffle paperwork!

I can only rest in knowing that God has ordained all this for us and that His plan is perfect. Until my time comes, I find peace in knowing that there are so many other families walking the same road that I am on. I love being a part of their journey and sharing in their joy as they are united with the children. This is an awesome new gotcha day video from a family that has been home just about a month. Sweeeet!

Our Journey to Elijah Mihretu - Ethiopia Adoption from Amy @ Filled With Praise on Vimeo.