Monday, January 31, 2011

More of Him...less of me

These last few days have been hard for me. Our family is turning a new corner. We have a new decision facing us and it is hard. I have cried out to God for guidance, for confirmation. I am fearful and excited at the same time. I have prayed for my husband's heart to be united with mine and vice versa. Our God is not a God of confusion. He will unite us because we are one in Him.

In the midst of this, though, I have doubted hearing Him speak to me. I have been reassured and then doubted again. Through all of this, I have realized He wants me to be so utterly dependent on Him that I cannot breathe without His help. He wants me to love Him with a reckless abandon. He wants me to depend on Him without thinking. He wants me to be completely obedient and never second guess myself or what He has called me to do. THIS IS HARD! He wants to live through me. I have always known these things, BUT they are taking a whole new life.

As I sit here I am listening to my new favorite song SWEETLY BROKEN.

At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees, and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered

I pray that I will be sweetly broken, wholly surrendered to Him. As I asked someone to pray this morning for my heart to be united with Righ's (she had no idea in reference to what), she started telling me the story about the widow and the oil. The widow went to Elisha and needed help. He told her to go get vessels to pour her oil into. This sweet woman this morning started talking about how those vessels would always be full based on God. He wouldn't let us be empty if we kept refreshing ourselves, if we relied upon Him. No one had ever told the story like this. It spoke to me, it was her interpretation for where we are right now. God will be my energy, He will be my strength and no matter what He lays in front of us, He will carry us. As long as I am obeying and seeking His face for refreshment each step of the way. God will sustain me. He loves me and wants to draw me gently to my knees. I am amazed at a God who loves me so much. I pray I will obey Him each step, that I will be sweetly broken in front of Him.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Only God....

This post is written by an adoptive family awaiting their children. They are on this incredible journey to their children in Ghana. She was a guest writer for us yesterday on Feeding the Orphans. Too good not to share. Enjoy!!!

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18

I’d love to tell you a story. It is the story of how God connected a couple in Plainfield, Illinois to a set of orphans half a world away and forever knit their hearts and lives together. It is a story that could only be orchestrated by God!

Only God, could break the heart of an 11 year old girl for what breaks His heart. It is thru her obedience that God raised up the funds to put in a well so that two small villages in the Lake Volta region of Ghana could have clean water to drink.

Only God could then send two of His servants to these villages to prepare for the well. During their visit God showed them that not only would these villages have clean water, but God had other plans too! He knew that 10 precious orphans needed someone to care for them, to provide for them, to love them. God had a plan for them!

Only God could provide the resources to bring these children in from this village to an orphanage in Accra. It is here that a pastor and his wife daily share with them not just food, clothing and care. They truly live out the gospel so that these kids can know and love Jesus!

Only God could prompt hearts half a world away to take a step of faith and follow His call to care for His children. Specifically for these children.

Only God could see the plans He had for each of these precious kids from eternity past. He did not leave them as orphans, He came to them in their village, brought them into His loving care. He knit their hearts together with couples half a world away so that someday soon they will have an earthly mother and father who will care for them and show them the love of their Father in heaven!

I am so thankful that my husband and I have been called by God to pursue two of these children. I look in awe at the way God has woven together His story of love and provision for these kids. We are so blessed that He is allowing us to be a part of His plan. I can already see how He is at work in my husband and I showing us how intimately He cares for each of the details of this adoption. He is also showing us as we prepare to bring them into our home that He cares for us and has made a way for us as His children. I can not wait to meet our son and daughter face to face. And I look forward to getting to share with them the story of how God knit our hearts and lives together for His purposes!

I leave you with one question to consider: Is God calling you to step out in faith and follow His call to care for His children? There are so many little ones out there who need to know that God has not left them as orphans. He will come for them too, just as He came for our two little ones and the other eight orphans in their village. A few of those eight are still waiting for the earthly mother and father that God has for them. I challenge you to prayerfully consider if it might be you He wants to send.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Will it hurt my kids?

When we first decided to adopt, one of my greatest fears was HOW WILL THIS AFFECT MY BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN? How will they cope with extra siblings? How will I be able to express love to each child? Will they have to sacrifice too much? Am I asking too much of them? What if I cannot give them everything monetarily that I could before?

Two months after our babies have been home and all the answers I thought I knew were COMPLETELY WRONG. I worried myself sick over how our youngest would handle not being the baby anymore. My list of worries could go on and on and on. I knew adoption is what God was calling us to, but I still worried about my babies.

God has taught me so much over the last few days, weeks, months. He has shown me that it didn't hurt my kids at all. God has given them a chance to grow and learn so much! The other night, I was listening to Samuel cry because he didn't want to go to bed. I watched Keenan put a loving hand on his back and lead him to bed. Then, he tucked him in and covered him up. I was completely blown away!!!

I have watched all 3 of our biological children sacrifice for their new siblings. I have watched them learn to love like Jesus. I have watched them grow up in so many ways in the last two months. In ways they never would have had the chance to experience had it not been for our adoption. It is hard, don't get me wrong! Who said following God would be easy, though??? It is worth every minute, every second of "hard stuff" at the end of the day when I am huddled on the couch with 4 children sitting on 1/2 of our couch, while the other just fell asleep in my arms. This is pure joy! These precious children, precious gifts from my God have brought so much joy and so many blessings into our family. They have taught us all so much. So if you are asking HOW WILL IT AFFECT YOUR CHILDREN, just stop and do it. It will be the greatest gift and lesson you could ever give them.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A little Christmas cheer!

New Christmas jammies

Momma and the two babies

My girls in their Ghanaian dresses

Friday, January 7, 2011

Flashlights in the Closet

I woke up this morning with such a tremendous peace. My babies slept well after they settled down last night so therefore Momma slept well, too. Thank you so much for the prayers you lifted up on my behalf. I truly felt each one of them. I hope my post last night didn't paint a grim picture at the O'Leary house Truthfully, it has been an AWESOME transition time for all of us. We went from 3 kids to 5 kids overnight and that will take some work. There will be personality clashes, but God has gotten us over the main humps. :)

As I woke this morning and we got started with our day, I walked by my closet and heard giggles. I hadn't seen the two "babies" in quite some time. I opened the door and found this
They were sitting in this itty bitty closet with one flashlight and having the time of their lives. Priceless!

Another favorite moment for me today and a gentle reminder of God's goodness were these two cuddled up on the couch this morning. Pure love! Love that is only possible through His love, through the adoption of our precious little ones.

For school, we have been studying the different countries/missionaries. Not long ago, we read Nate Saint. So tonight for family movie night, we watched END OF THE SPEAR. What an incredible movie and a great picture of Jesus' love. You see, our Bible lesson this morning was from Matthew 9:9-13: As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The kids and I discussed how Jesus spent His time with the unbelievers. Well, our movie tonight was quite fitting. Nate Saint and the other 4 missionaries lived in the Ecuadoran jungle and longed to reach the Waorani people. They sacrificed everything for Jesus. They gave it all up. As Nate said goodbye to his son, Steve asked, "Dad, if they attack you, will you shoot them with your guns?" And his father answered, "Son, I cannot do that. They aren't ready for heaven, but I am." WOW! This is what life is all about. Living it to the fullest, to the extreme for our God. Am I doing this? No. Am I being thankful? Not nearly enough. I pray I will chase after Him with a new desire, that He will break my heart for what breaks His, that I will be completely obedient in each step. For right now, that means loving my kids with His love and teaching them to love others, while we build Feeding the Orphans for His kingdom. Click here for an incredible story from today. I just love the way God puts His hands over His children. Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Overdue Update

I have sat down to write this post for almost two months now. Each time I start typing I lose the words and just stop. So much has happened since we came home with our babies. It has been the most incredible days, but also some of the hardest all at the same time. Just a refresher, our bio kids are 11, almost 10, and 3. Our adopted children are 6 and 3. We all knew our baby would struggle and boy, did he ever those first few days. :) He has grown to love and adore his new siblings so much, though. On any given day, I can find Samuel and Aiden off playing dress up somewhere. And Helen and Aiden have the most unique relationship. They are both 3 and full of energy. Sometimes I will watch them jibber jabber back and forth. One speaks English and one Ewe, but you would think they both understand every single word. I LOVE IT! The next minute, they are fighting over Mommy's lap or Daddy's lap or the spot on the couch. A true love/hate relationship! In the end, love always wins.

Sydney and Keenan have struggled a bit, too, but we have made an effort to give them more freedoms after the 3 littles go to bed. This has been the biggest help. And generally, when I go on an errand without everyone, I take at least one "big kid". I have come to love and cherish this time with them so much!

There are so many stories I want to share in between, but first this is my heart tonight.

A few months ago, my husband's company told him they were dissolving his position. He would need to interview for a new job. Both options did not look promising. More travel, more overnights than he currently has. We have no family here so we were both less than excited about it. After much prayer, the answer was clear. He was offered the job with THE MOST TRAVEL! Really, Lord? Really? Not sure what you are planning here, but I am sensing I am not going to like it. It's not all about me, though. :)

So two days ago he started his new job. And I should note we are so incredibly thankful for a job! He found out today his travel (which was more than we would like) has now doubled. As I sat on the phone with him today and he told me he would be gone the whole month of February, I felt desperation setting in. This is not my plan. I have prayed for God's glory to shine through no matter what. I have prayed for the strength and peace to come for me. I have prayed for the hearts of my babies who will miss Daddy so much. I have prayed for my own sanity and also for God to bring some precious saint into our lives to help me when I need it.

Today I took Helen to her first sick dr. visit. She has a nasty earache so the dr. gave her a prescription. Does she have any allergies? I DON'T KNOW. So tonight, Righ went to Bible study and after I put Helen to bed she woke up screaming and scratching all over her body. She was having an allergic reaction to her meds. While I'm giving her Benadryl and consoling her, Aiden wakes up with severe pains in his legs. As I laid in bed with my two 3 year olds (both crying loudly) I prayed for God to help me. I prayed for strength and patience. I thought to myself THIS IS HARD. This is so much harder than I thought it would be and this is what it will be like when Daddy starts traveling more and more. I appreciate his extra set of hands so much and even take them for granted sometimes. But as I was laying there cuddling my babies, I was gently reminded this is all for His glory. It is for His name and He will sustain us. He will keep me going. And my thankfulness set in again. He chose our family to adopt Samuel and Helen. What a privilege to be their mother, to receive their hugs and their I love yous! Even in the hard moments, the moments where I can only do this with God's strength, it is so worth it. I am just so thankful!

And tonight as I typed this, I want to convey that I am not complaining. I am so incredibly blessed that my husband has a good job, that I can be at home with all of my children and homeschool them. I just want to share my heart. The heart that craves Jesus to be my strength and realizing (once again) that it is the only place to turn. On a last note, I am so thankful to all the soldiers and their wives who sacrifice so much to fight for our freedom. I am amazed by what they give up, on both ends. So thank you!!!

One more thing, Sydney's vision of feeding the children of Ghana has grown tremendously. It is so much more than I ever thought possible. The faith of a child is incredible, though, and it pushes me on. Click here to see how you can get involved. We are trying to update every day too, as things are changing quickly. Options are food sponsorships, mission trips, empowering the women, water for life, etc.