Thursday, February 17, 2011

Risk Vs. Safety

I've been struggling with bronchitis for a couple of weeks, so Sunday night found me at home on the couch. When Gareth came home from church he was SO excited. As we have prayed and confirmed our desire to follow God's leading even when it didn't make sense to people watching from the outside, I have also prayed that God would strengthen our faith. And He has. Over the week-end, He led me to several Scripture passages, and then, Gareth came home saying, "You should have been there. You have to hear this! It's just what we've been talking about!"

Our church's youth pastor was speaking on Sunday evening. I hope you'll take the time to listen, it's good stuff: The Myths of Risk vs. Safety (You might want to scroll down and pause my playlist-first).

Monday, February 14, 2011

No Ifs

After last week (see previous post), I sat down with Gareth to confirm with him that he still believed that we were doing the right thing. How much I love that man! His quiet confidence that we are doing what is right and that God will care for us and for Kayleigh is such a comfort right now. Having had several sleepless nights as my brain worked overtime, I asked God to calm my heart and confirm His will concerning this adoption. And He has. I'll post more later about some of the things that I am learning and what Gareth and I have talked about, but for now I want to share with you a couple of quotes that He brought to mind as I lay thinking. They are taken from some reading I did several years ago, books by Corrie ten Boom:

"There are no "ifs" in God's kingdom. No places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety."-Betsie ten Boom

"There are no "ifs" in God's kingdom. His timing is perfect. His will is our hiding place. Lord Jesus, keep me in your will. Don't let me go made by poking around outside it." -Corrie ten Boom

Powerful stuff! Especially powerful if you remember that these 2 sisters lived during the Nazi occupation of Holland, and along with their father, helped to hide Jews from the Nazis, a choice that landed them in a concentration camp and ultimately cost Betsie and her father their lives.

It may not make sense to those who do not love and serve our Savior, but how comforting the knowledge that in God's will we can find perfect peace and safety.

Processing and Confessing

Warning, I'm probably about to do some confessing and maybe even some ranting here. If you're after warm and cuddly you might want to leave now and check back in a couple of days. But for now, writing is one of the ways that I process things best, and so I'm attempting to work through some of the stuff that's been going on lately that I can't seem to get out of my head.

For some reason, it would seem that choosing to adopt a child with special needs means that we're now fair targets for lots of opinions. Usually they start with, "I'm sure you've already thought about this..." or "I'm only thinking of what's best for you (or her), or "I know I must not try to influence you.." or "I'm not going to interfere, but I just have to say this", or "I'm only saying this because I love you" etc..... (Note to self: If you ever feel the need to preface a comment with one of these, think REALLY hard about whether or not you go ahead and say anything.)

It's been really hard. Not so much for Gareth, he seems to be able to let it roll off his back and remain mostly unruffled by it. Me, well, not so much.

When we first began to tell people that we were adopting again, we had several "interesting" conversations with people who didn't necessarily think it was a good idea. And then things kind of died down and there were far more people who were really excited and happy for us. I kind of got over the initial sting of the hurtful comments (or so I thought) and carried on. Then last week, there was another string of less than positive comments about this adoption.

Over the past several days, I've been trying to decide why it is that these phone calls/letters/conversations in passing hurt so much. I'm not sure I've arrived at a complete understanding of it, although I think I know what part of it is. I like to view myself as a mature, responsible, reasonably intelligent person. And Gareth certainly falls into the mature, responsible, and intelligent categories. When I look at our marriage, I believe it to be one of the strongest ones I know. When I think about our little family, I think of how much we love our children and all of the ways we work to intentionally love, train, and care for our children.

So when I hear these comments, what I don't hear is how much we are loved. What I do hear is: You obviously haven't really thought about this. You're really selfish to make your other children bear this burden. You're not really very responsible. You and Gareth aren't capable of making a wise choice and need me to show you all the reasons why your decision is wrong. And so on. And so on. And so on.

See the problem? It's pride. There I've said it. It's an ugly little word and an ugly thing to have to admit. But a big part of why I have been so upset by the "helpful" comments is that I resent the implication that we're not big enough, mature enough, responsible enough, thoughtful enough, and don't love our other children enough to be able to have made this decision without the opinions from people who weren't asked for them but somehow have the "right" to interfere while saying that they're not. Is that their problem? Well, maybe a little bit, but mostly it's mine. I can't control other people's thoughts or comments, but I can, with God's help, control my attitudes and thoughts.

I know that at least some of the comments come from people who love us or at least love our other children. I'm working really hard at trying to hear that, instead of taking it as criticism and an insult to Gareth and me. But, I've obviously still got work to do. It is very humbling to realize just how far I still have to go in this journey to become more Christ-like.

Lord help me, not just to keep my mouth shut,but instead to put a genuine smile on my face, kindness on my tongue, and humility in my heart. Even when I have no doubt that we are making right choices, help me to accept criticism and "help" with a gracefulness and a love that can only come from You. Empty me of me, so that I can be filled with You!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Scenes From A Winter Snow Storm

Every winter since we moved to Oklahoma, we've had snow or ice and native Okies have told us, "This is really unusual. It never does this!" We no longer believe them :)

This is our 4th winter here, and this is how we've spent the last week!

It is beautiful! We have enjoyed looking at it. We've got 4 and 5 foot snowdrifts around our house and yard.

Then last night, it began to dump on us again. Thankfully, we only got 5-6 inches today. Gareth still didn't make it to work, but at least it wasn't like just north of here where they picked up 20 more inches!
Rosie and I have been sick, so we haven't been out and about playing in it, but the boys got to do some sledding and snow ball throwing. But even they are beginning to long for a bit of warm weather.
Thankfully, they're predicting 50 and 60 degree weather for the week-end, so maybe we'll melt some of this white stuff and get to play outside for more than 15 minutes before we're completely frozen!