The title of this blog post was inspired by this sweet little girl and her shirt. This weekend, I drove to Charlottesville, VA to be a part of an annual girls' weekend with my three dearest friends from middle school/high school. Christine, who has been one of my best friends since sixth grade, moved with her family to Charlottesville a year ago to start a church. We enjoyed seeing her home, her new city, and her sweet family. We spent a lot of time talking, eating, walking, and talking some more. It was a great weekend, a great get-away, and a great reminder of the blessing of friends.
These girls have known me for almost twenty years. We've been through a lot together: youth group camps and mission trips, marching band practices in the summer heat, seeing boyfriends come and go, college days, lots of emails back and forth, engagements, being a part of each other's weddings, pregnancies, births of our babies, new jobs, moves, more emails back and forth, struggles, and many joys. These are the friends I tell my deepest struggles to and my greatest joys. They share it all and most importantly they pray for me, encourage me, and offer godly counsel. I'm so thankful for them.
I heard this song shortly after returning from my trip and thought it described my friends perfectly.
More Than You'll Ever Know
...I thought about the funny ways you make me laugh,
Although the packaging was a simple box with wrapping paper, what lay inside the box was no ordinary gift. This year for my 33rd birthday, my mom gave me a special gift, a gift that took a lot of letting-go on her part. The gift was a ring-a ring that has been in our family for ninety years. My mom's grandfather had given the ring to my grandmother when she was a girl. My grandmother gave the ring to my mom when she was a girl, and I've grown up seeing the ring on my mother's hand. Now, the ring is on my hand.
The ring holds a simple design-a beautiful red stone in a delicate gold setting. The beauty of the ring does not exist in its stone or setting. What makes it precious is the memories it carries.
I cannot think of my mom's hands without thinking of the ring. It was always there. So, when I look at my hand now with the ring on my finger, I feel like I'm looking at my mom's hand. It's a rather strange feeling, and I guess over time, I'll get used to seeing it on my hand. But for now, when I see the ring, I remember my mom's hands.
My mom's hands were always strong for the task set before her. Her hands were covered in dry erase marker in the evenings after a full day of teaching. Her hands were busy in the kitchen making cookies or preparing dinner. Her hands were soft, inviting, and always finding ways to help others.
Now, I am a mom and my hands are busy each day changing diapers, wiping tears, holding the hand of a little child. How will my children remember my hands?
My mom is an inspiration to me in so many ways. I hope that my children will one day remember my hands as I remember my mother's hands. More important than passing down a beautiful ring that I will always cherish, she passed down a legacy of love, faith, and truth.
Today, August 18, is my mother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom! As I look at my hand today and see the ring, I will say a prayer of thanksgiving for your life and the gifts you gave me. I could not have asked for a better mom.
Saturday night, Tim and I had the privilege of attending a dinner hosted by our adoption agency to support the cause of orphans . It was a good time for us to be reaffirmed by God of what He's calling us to do. I go through times of feeling excited and times of feeling fearful. The past few weeks had been a fearful time for me. Every time one of my boys acted out or was especially clingy, a voice inside of me would whisper doubts into my soul. But God is faithful to remind me that He is the one in charge and He is leading us.
A good friend reminded me that often times in the Bible God answers a question that someone asks with a statement about Himself. Think of when Moses asked God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" God answered not with a comment about Moses' ability but with the statement about Himself, "I will be with you."
Another example is the story of the woman at the well. When the Samaritan woman asks Jesus how he could ask her for a drink, he responds by telling her about the gift of God in the living water.
I need to hear that it's not up to me.
The guest artist for Saturday's dinner was Britt Nicole. I loved the song she sang "Set the World on Fire." Thus, it is on my play list now. In it she says, "I am small but You are big enough. I am weak but You are strong enough to take my dreams and give them wings." She ended the evening sharing these verses from 1 Chronicles 28:20...
...Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you...
Throughout the evening on Saturday, the faces of sweet children that have been adopted would fill a screen that was set up close to our table. A few of the speakers were adoptive fathers that had traveled to orphanages in different countries and had been moved by the children living there. They spoke of the children's great longings to have a daddy and to be a part of a family. They would cry out to the men visiting the orphanage, "Papa," hoping one of them was there to take them home. As the evening went on, my heart longed for our daughter and for the children who so desperately want to have a home. The number of orphans in the world is astounding, but the statistics say if just 7% of those who call themselves Christians adopted one child each, there would be no more orphans in the world. Amazing! I'm not saying all Christians have an obligation to adopt just as not all Christians should be foreign missionaries. I do hope that those who feel God tugging their hearts toward adoption will listen.
Today was our last visit with our social worker for the home study. She hopes to have our home study complete by the end of this month. It's a good feeling to have this part of the journey almost complete. We are one step closer to seeing our little girl...
just a little closer to bringing her home. When she cries, "Papa", may she be embraced by her daddy in our home.
Going to the county fair is something we look forward to every year. The fair in our county is fairly small, but it has some great activities for the kids. The boys enjoyed the hands-on farm activity for kids. They also had fun looking at all of the farm animals, watching a dog/frisbee show, BMX bike stunt show, juggler and seeing the fireworks at the end of the night. It was a late night for us, but it was well worth it.
enjoying the snacks at the farm area for kids
Graham got to ride one ride. He chose the motorcycle ride and had a blast.
Can you tell we are excited to have a new camera!!