Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Remind Me Who I Am - Jason Gray

We were given free tickets to Andrew Peterson's  BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD concert last night.  What an amazing blessing!!!  So Sydney, Keenan and I went while Dad kept the three little kids at home.

The first half of the concert was everyone playing two of their own songs.  As the 2nd guy stood up and started playing, I recognized one of my favorite songs.  (I am horrible at remembering who plays what and the names of songs.)

Sitting there listening to Jason Gray singing "Remind Me Who I Am", my mind went to the fatherless, to the orphan, to my sons who are orphans  NO MORE, to my Heavenly Father who adores me and I was reminded of His great love for ME.  And YOU.  And each person on this Earth.

He sang the words, "I belong to you," and I saw my precious son running to me with the brightest smile on his face knowing in his heart he belongs to me.

 I saw the empty, sad eyes of children just waiting for someone to say YOU BELONG TO ME.  I was reminded of the millions of children sitting around the world waiting to belong, to be loved, to be held, to be cherished, to be told the name of JESUS!!!

My heart was overflowing and broken all at the same time.  Thankful for a God who moves mountains, who changes hearts, who places the lonely in families, who gives me grace each and every day.  Broken for the children who need someone to come, someone to be His hands and feet, someone to remind them who they are and that they belong to a Heavenly Father.  Are you the one someone is waiting on?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shooting Stars and Children

When my wife came to me and told me she heard from God that we were to adopt two more orphans from Ghana, I thought she had completely lost her mind.  (You can read her story here.)  When she told me she knew exactly who they were, I was sure she had.  She asked me to pray and seek the Lord on His will and I reluctantly agreed to do just that (as we had JUST brought home Samuel and Helen two months before).  On a daily basis she would ask what God was telling me about the boys and on a daily basis I told her “I don’t know yet.”  I was seeking and wanting to be obedient to what God wanted me to do, but I had to know for sure.  This was not, “God, should I take this job?” or “God, should we sell our house?” both very critical things to seek the Lord on.  But this was a HUGE decision and I had to be sure Kristie and I were on the same page and that page was ONLY God’s will.

I am a constellation man.  Since a child I have thoroughly enjoyed the stars and spent countless nights staring up into God’s vast greatness in awe and wonder.  

So one night as I found myself looking up into His heavens, I saw Orion the Hunter, and I heard the Lord say to me

 Happy is he whose quiver is full.”  

And I replied, “Yes, Lord, but my quiver fills pretty full with 5 kiddos right now.”  Then I started to bargain with God.  I told Him if he really wanted us to adopt these two brothers, it would be great if He would send a shooting star across the bow of this constellation, Orion the Hunter.  I waited in expectation, but nothing happened.  Then I started to walk back inside and I heard the Lord tell me to come back and look up again.  I obeyed, and as I looked back at Orion, a shooting star shot straight across his bow!  I sat there in bewilderment for a moment, then started to rationalize what I had just seen.  

“God, that sure was a small shooting star; and it sure did go fast.  I was hoping for something a bit more substantial in the way of shooting stars.” 

But no more came that day.  As I told my family what had happened, they were ecstatic and confident in the Lord’s will, but Dad needed yet more confirmation from the Lord that this was indeed His will.
A week went by and I was again outside one clear cold night.  I was talking with the Lord and telling Him that I was sorry I am like Gideon throwing out my fleece again and again, but I know He is a God of love and mercy and grace and forgiveness.  I told my King that if He would just send another large shooting star right now, then I would quit trying to rationalize and understand everything and simply would obey Him and ADOPT the boys.  As I said “amen” and looked right in front of me, a HUGE BRIGHT shooting star fell straight down exactly where my eyes were looking.  And I could visualize the Lord flinging this star from His fingertip. 

I hit my knees and wept.  Wept at the confirmation of what I had just received after seeking so long.  Wept over two orphans that would no longer be orphans.  Wept over my God who is SO loving and faithful and powerful.  Wept over my God who answers. - Righ

You can imagine my delight when the Lord connected our hearts, when He answered our prayers.  And the excitement as my arms are even more full of joy in the form of 7 beautiful treasures that God chose ME to be a mother to.  So if you are out there and you have a heart to adopt and your husband doesn't, it is ok.  A little over two years ago, my hubby was adamant we would not adopt.  4 children that are orphans no more later and he knows we are not finished.  So pray. Just pray. Pray for our God to intervene and to unite hearts.  If you feel like you cannot be a good mother to the children in your home, it is ok.  Our God will give you enough strength each day IF you just ask Him, if you lean on Him, if you fully depend on Him.  So for Christmas this year all I want is for my boys to come HOME and a Memorial Box.  The first thing to go in it?  A star. An incredible reminder of how God spoke to my husband about our beautiful Ghanaian sons. - Kristie

This story is such a reminder of God's love for the fatherless and I have been waiting to make it a Memorial Box Monday.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

And it began again....

Twelve and a half months ago, I boarded a plane to Ghana with Sydney. We were on a mission. A mission to bring Samuel and Helen home. To bring them back to the States never to be separated from us again. Our 2nd mission? To love the fatherless, to provide food, clean water and medicine to the children left behind. You see, this is the mission statement for FEEDING THE ORPHANS, God's ministry.

If we give them food, but not Jesus, what have we done? If we give them clothes, but not our Savior, what have we done? Everything is in His name.

As we walked into one of the orphanages to be Jesus and visit Jesus all at the same time, a baby boy was placed in my arms. He stole my heart and I prayed God would provide him a family. I remember holding him, so small and happy, and pleading with God to bring someone to love him forever.....to place him in a momma's arms that will train him to be a warrior for JESUS!!!

I watched Sydney hold him and fall in love with him. And that night, I posted pictures to Facebook. One of my best friends in America saw his picture and her heart was broken, but her husband had not been open to adoption. He wanted to support others, but not put himself there. Yet. This is the same friend who had the dream about a baby boy. You can read that here. As I read her email, I could only think this is the baby in the dream. She emailed again and her husband wanted to know if he was adoptable. I was giddy!!!

We arrived back at the orphanage two days later to say goodbye to the children and give one last hug to them all. Once again, that sweet baby was placed in my arms. This time, all I could think is I will hold him again in America. He will live down the street from me. I will be a part of his life. Thank you, Lord, for giving him a momma!!

Six weeks later, I received an email from Ghana and the baby boy had a brother, a 6 year old brother. My heart sank. My sweet friend had three sons and one daughter. I knew God's plan was a sister for her daughter. I knew this meant they were not the family God had in mind. There truly are no words for the next few days. I mourned over these two boys. I pleaded with God to do something, to bring a family to love them.

As I sat in my chair one afternoon, I heard God say, "You are to adopt those boys." What???? Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute!!! We had gone from a family of 5 to a family of 7 just TWO MONTHS AGO!!! My hubby and I had just decided we would adopt again, but it would be a little while. Again, I heard, "You are to adopt those boys."

Now, I knew my hubby would say NO WAY!!! Don't ask me that, don't talk to me about that! I also knew what my Father was asking of me and I knew I had no choice. I want to live my life for Jesus to the fullest in complete and utter obedience. As I called him on the phone and explained it all to him he said, "Let's pray about it."

Shock, disbelief! God was speaking through him and leading him. I went on to explain it would be two weeks or more before we knew any details of the boys so we had some time. I sat down to pray and to seek His face. My specific prayer was over the oldest brother's name. We had no idea what it was. We only knew his age and had seen his picture. I prayed God would make his name so significant we would not be able to ignore it if he were to be our son.

Within minutes my phone rang. My contact in Ghana was calling with info on the boys. The same info I thought we would receive in two weeks. Oh goodness, I thought we would have more time. As I listened to their story, my heart was broken. Tears came and I prayed for Him to lead us. Or bring the family for the boys.

Then she said, "Kristie, his name is Joseph." This in itself was significant to us. You see, Samuel's birth name was Richard, but during our adoption process during Bible study one morning, God spoke so audibly we were to name him Samuel. I had prayed for a child and told my Lord I would give my child back to him, just as Hannah had done in the Old Testament. Joseph was another Old Testament name and my heart started racing. I felt the Holy Spirit prodding to google the Biblical meaning of Joseph (strange I know). The very first find was,

And she named him Joseph, meaning may He add to you another son. - Genesis 30:24

The tears came harder and faster. God answered my prayer. I asked specifically about the brother's name and He answered. He confirmed in my head what I already knew in my heart. Joseph and Bless were to be my sons. The baby in my friend's dream almost a year ago was my baby, just like she thought. As she scooped that baby out of the water and placed him in my arms in the dream, she is now doing that.

As I phoned my husband and ran through everything, he was not completely on board. He was amazed God had spoken so clearly to me, but now he wanted to hear. For himself. Over the next few weeks, I waited. Some days I was patient, others I was not. I needed my husband to hear SOMETHING. I was convinced maybe he wasn't even praying about it. I became angry with him for not believing me. In reality, he did believe me. He just needed to hear from God himself. As I look back I am so glad he was insistent. I am so glad he did not take my word for it because this was a HUGE step for our family!!

The next portion of the story is better told by him so hopefully he will be ready to share this weekend. God continues to amaze me. As I waited for my husband, continuously God spoke, "These boys will be for my GLORY and for my GLORY alone."

Lord, I thank you that I am given the gift to be the mother of these two precious boys from Ghana.

And how fitting that my dear, sweet friend, Paige, who had the dream of a baby boy almost two years ago was in Ghana with me when I met Joseph for the first time and cradled Bless once again!!