Thursday, March 31, 2011

Milk and Honey

This morning my devotional had me read Numbers 13 - 14 and I found it to be so encouraging and eye opening for me. Here's my summarized version of basically what went on:

~ God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and out of the desert to escape all sorts of horrible things including death. He promised them a land that flowed with milk and honey. In these chapters the people are brought right up to the edge of this promised land and told to go in and scout it out. When they do, they find it is a land filled with milk and honey and that it is wonderful. Then they see the people there are big and fortified and scary. So they basically freak out and cry and say God should have let them die in Egypt or the desert because they can't deal with this situation. Then they talk about picking a new leader, turning around, and going back to Egypt because this new great land looks just too big and scary to deal with. ~

Reading this I feel I can relate so much to them! When God leads me to a place that seems too big and scary I often freak out and think it's too difficult for me to bare. Perfect recent examples of my big and scary places: not getting pregnant, heart being opened to the subject of adoption, being told to wait on adoption, being told I have complications about getting pregnant. All of these make me want to throw a five year old fit and cry just like the Israelites did. (And honestly it does make me feel a little better reading stories like this to know that I'm not the first person who acts like a big baby when I face a "hardship!") Because sometimes it does feel a little like I'm being thrown back and forth and I too want to cry out "God why didn't you....(fill in the blank)?"

I want that milk and honey....the promised land....I think we all do. Whether it's a house, a car, a husband, a baby, a better job, to be retired....the list goes on and on. And sometimes it feels like we're being brought right up to that milk and honey place only to have it snatched away or put on hold. Sometimes it feels as though we think we're being brought to it and suddenly the path veers off in a completely different direction that we weren't prepared for, and we want to stomp and shout! (Or at least that's how I feel at times!) :)

It's good for me to read these stories and remember that God works in these situations. In ALL situations. When the Israelites wanted to turn around and run, and were prepared to stone the leaders that wanted to enter the promised land,

"the glory of the Lord all the Israelities." ~Numbers 14:10

And He will show His glory in my life and yours if we let Him. It may not be how we anticipated or even how we prayed for, but He will work in that difficult situation and show His glory if we are patient and listen to Him. And if we can't hear Him...then we wait some more. (And we keep praying).

I don't want to be like those Israelites who got so close to their own "milk and honey" only to turn away and not trust. They let their fear and their own ideas get in the way of God's plan simply because it seemed too scary and they had their own agenda.

"How God must grieve over two common approaches to His unfolding plan: those who want position without preparation and those who refuse to leave the comforts of preparation to take the position." ~Beth Moore, A Woman's Heart Devotional

It's very tempting for me to take this whole baby situation into my own hands and try to be in control but ultimately I'm not. It's a day by day process but that is how I am choosing to live my life. To follow God's plan no matter how confusing or impossible it may seem at times. I want the promised land He has planned for me....not one I can dream up and assume would be the best for me.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I am learning patience. Again. And more of it. It's so difficult not to know the future sometimes and be able to plan for it. Being a slight control freak makes that even harder for me. :) But I know it's not for me to be in control of the future.

Instead you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.' ~James 4:15

Today I went for my hysterosalpingogram. It was painful, uncomfortable, and not fun but even more difficult was the semi inconclusive finding. My left fallopian tube is open (which is good), but my right is closed. There is nothing they can do about that, which basically means that my right side is now deemed a "dud" when it comes to trying to get pregnant. I have an appointment with my OB in May where we will discuss what's next but most likely we'll do an ultrasound to see if I am ovulating from my left ovary at all. We'll also discuss endometriosis and the surgery with that. The only way to diagnose that is to do the surgery to remove it. Basically they put you to sleep, go in through your stomach and look around. If you have it, they cut it out...all in one. I do feel like it's good to be finding out answers but also difficult because there's still so much waiting involved and not knowing. And that's hard for me!

I think the waiting and not knowing is even harder coupled with the fact that we definitely feel like we are supposed to wait on the adoption for now. I don't understand that, and I know I'm not supposed to understand, but it's still difficult to wait. Waiting on finding out if the other part of my left side works correctly, waiting on pursuing adoption, waiting (once again) on having children. It makes me feel weak and not in control, but I know in those times are when God is strongest. And so I will wait for God's plan, and enjoy the beautiful amazing plan He's laid out for me thus far. My amazing husband, family, friends, and so much more. I am truly blessed, and that does make the waiting seem so much more trustworthy and also worth the wait.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Being Bossy

Expectations are premeditated resentments. ~Kristin Thompson

I had a funny experience this morning that reminded me of this quote. I was sitting here trying to have a quiet time while Bear kept shoving his little wet nose under my hand to pet him. I would pet him for a few minutes...stop...and the nose shoving and gruffing would begin again. I finally looked at him and said, "you are bossy!" In that instant, however, I realized that's how I am so often with God. I want something and I want it NOW. Or I want something in a specific way and THAT'S HOW I want it to happen!

Specifically in the area of children. (Yes we're going there again, sorry!) I always thought we would try to get pregnant and BAM within a month (or maybe a few) we'd be pregnant. When that didn't I happen I imagined all sorts of other options of how it would happen. I've finally (or at least for today) realized I don't know how or if it will happen and I'm not going to try to figure it out anymore either. I'm going to take it one decision at a time.

Let me back up for a second and fill in the details of what has progressed in my life as of recently....

Derek and I found that adoption was heavy on our hearts and we looked into the process. We prayed about it and felt that it was something God had placed there for a reason but we weren't sure of the timing. We decided to go forward with the meeting and filling out paperwork and prayed that if this wasn't God's timing for us that He would "close that door." We had the meeting...we were filling out the paperwork....but we hit a few speed bumps. We kept praying and kept moving forward.

Then we found out that Ethiopia has recently cut their adoptions down to almost none. No one knows right now whether this is a temporary or permanent situation. This happened basically the week before we were about to turn in our official application and processing fee. I'll be honest, I felt defeated, frustrated, and mad. I had thought this would be the way that we would meet our first child...and maybe it still will be, but not right this moment. We are still praying about it but feel that we are in a "wait status" for now. For about a week after this I tried to figure out God's plan and anticipated that maybe I was pregnant and THAT'S why this was happening! As of two days ago, no suck luck. Visited once again by that stupid period fairy. :)

However, there has also been another change in plans. Before all this I had not wanted to get tested for any fertility issues because I had somehow decided that was not MY plan as to how we would have a child. I don't like hospitals or doctors (yes, ironic) and therefore didn't feel the need to go have any testing because it seemed scary and I just plain and simple - didn't want to. I don't have an explanation other than I don't feel so anti anymore.

Long story short (I know, too late) I called to just go get a little minor ultrasound. A no big deal test with no pain and no big deal...just to start me off easy with this whole situation. Again...MY expectation. After talking with Tif (who's had this done) I realized I was actually set up for a pretty major test that is extremely painful and a very big deal. A hysterosalpingogram where they inflate a balloon in your uterus to check for abnormalities and inject dye into your fallopian tubes...all of which I have heard is not a fun experience.

After getting a little upset and frustrated that I wasn't going to have my easy plan of a little dinky ultrasound, and maybe throwing a little fit to God about how this isn't how the plan was supposed to go, I have decided to keep the test and get some answers about my body. Maybe it will lead to something and maybe not, but for now it will be worth it to at least have some answers and at least know if anything is wrong "down there." Maybe our first (or second) child is in Ethiopia and maybe somewhere else....but basically I'm not going to try and figure out those details anymore. I'm waiting, I'm praying, I'm doing what I feel God is leading me to do, and I'm waiting when I feel He's telling me to wait. I'm going to stop premeditating resentments and just start living without expectations. I'm going to go into that appointment on Wednesday and not expect (other than expecting pain!). God's in control and I'm so glad I'm not!

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain."
~Psalm 127:1

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. ~John 15:1-2

When I'm experiencing hardship (big or small), I don't typically tend to think of it as a learning or pruning experience. I usually think of it as an annoying experience. It's so hard to remember this! All of life's difficult experiences I can learn from and grow in if I let God work in them. Little nagging annoyances such as traffic, a long wait in the grocery line, running late for a meeting, and so many much larger ones - can all be ways that God can prune me and make areas of my life more fruitful or positive.

Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~James 1:2-4

Rarely do I feel joyful while going through something I don't like. This verse sometimes makes me laugh to think how frustratingly painful it is to think of joy when you are in pain. When I bruise my shin on the dishwasher door, am I happy? No. Do I want to scream and shout? Yes. But if I let God work in that, He can refine my character and how I react to many other circumstances in letting him control my anger in this small little one. It's so convicting for me to read this verse in James and think how often I don't let a trial or testing develop my perseverance. It also makes me think how many opportunities I've wasted and had to re-live because I didn't learn it the first time.

Now I also know I can't do this on my own. Considering joy in the midst of a storm is practically impossible for me. But with God all things are possible. This reality helps me to remember I don't have to do it on my own and I'm not expected to. Being connected to God and letting Him work in my life will allow everything to become fruitful because He is pruning me. Yes just like a plant. I am being pruned.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. ~John 15:5

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I was sent an awesome devotional by my amazing friend Tiffany today that reflected on the difference between what you hope in vs. what you hope for.

I first read it and thought oh that's good. Then I thought about it for another moment and realized there is a big difference between the two. It's easy to answer the what you hope for part. I hope for health and happiness, I hope to have children someday, I hope we pay off our house someday, I hope for lots of things. But reading this made me realize that sometimes those hopes can feel empty or hopeless. On days I struggle with feeling sad about not having children - that hope doesn't sustain can almost bring me down more with the enormousness of how long I feel that I have been hoping, and waiting, for it.

But when I think of what you hope in, that is a completely different question. It's not as simple as everyday circumstances. What I hope in is Jesus. That God is in the driver seat and has a plan for my life that is perfect. I may not be able to see that plan and it can be painful at times but only because I am focusing on the situation at hand, and not on what I hope in. Hoping for can be empty and feel like it may never happen. Hoping for when you really focus on it long enough can shut out all light around it and be a stumbling block and feel never ending. But when I fix my eyes on the truth that is in Jesus and that He has a plan for me, and that I will spend eternity with Him in heaven - that is what I hope in. I know a God who loves me and has the best planned for me even when I don't agree.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:28

When I focus on what I hope in, it makes the what I hope for more bearable. It makes it so that things don't seem forever away or hopeless. It makes the hoping for seem more hopeful. Concentrating on what is real and true and good - that God cares for me and takes care of me and truly has the best for me - that is what I hope in, and what sustains me.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bethany Annual Dinner & Silent Auction

This is the adoption agency that I have been volunteering at as well as the one we will be using for our adoption. They are an amazing group and have this annual fundraiser to provide the rest of the funds to run the business that are not covered through the adoption costs. They purposefully don't charge families as much as is needed to adopt to be able to keep the costs down and then fund-raise for the rest of the funds.

They need people to attend the event but also donations to pay for the event itself. If you, anyone you know, or any business would like to donate please let me know or email the agency below. Any donations of $500 or more will be recognized at the event. Also for donating businesses we can set out cards or flyers with information about them.


Bethany Christian Services'

Annual Dinner and Silent Auction
The Power of Love
Saturday, April 30, 2011
6 p.m.

We are pleased to announce that Bethany's Annual Banquet and Silent Auction will be held on April 30, 2011 at 6pm – one week before Mother's Day. Being so close to this special day, we are acknowledging the powerful impact of a parent’s love with this year's theme: The Power of Love. The proceeds from this event will help Bethany find families for children who need the love and nurturing of a permanent family.


The banquet will be held in the Hawthorn Room at the lovely Mountain Park Recreational Center in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Event Highlights
Silent Auction–Choose from a select group of quality items, including vacation packages. This is an excellent opportunity to go home with a fantastic item and to support Bethany at the same time.

Dinner–Savor every delicious morsel, from the tasty appetizers to the decadent desserts.

Speaker–A Northwest adoptive family will share their personal story. Although this presentation is brief, this is often the highlight of the evening.

Tickets and Registration

We would love for you to join us! Online registration and payment is coming soon, but you can RSVP anytime by contacting the Portland office at 503.200.5748 or by e-mailing

Register - Online Payment

Register - No Online Payment

Individual ticket price: $30.00
Host a Table of Eight: $240.00
Banquet Donor or Sponsor: $500 or more will get a special acknowledgement on the evening of the banquet.

Our volunteer team makes it all come together! Here is a sample of what volunteers can choose to do: procure auction items, invite guests, tell others about the event, set up the item display tables, decorate the venue, make centerpieces, register guests, and pack up at the end of the evening. If you have a willing heart, we have a project and a schedule that works for you! If you would like to help with this year's event, please call the Portland Office at 503.200.5748 or fill out our
Volunteer Form.

We are currently seeking sponsors to help underwrite this year's banquet. By underwriting the costs of this event, businesses and individuals make it possible for all the funds raised during the evening to go directly to serving children and families through Bethany Christian Services’ programs. To learn more, please contact the Portland Office at 503.200.5748 or at

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why love orphans?

Saw this video and loved it. Had to share.

Why Love Orphans? from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.