Friday, March 23, 2012

Breakthroughs to Celebrate

Good Morning Dear Ones:

Can I just say how true it is, that to the degree something is difficult, that the hope and blessing that Jesus gives is that much more. Don't you just love a relational heavenly father who cares about the details in your life. Who created you and knows you better than you know yourself?

I am still basking in my Jesus flood if you can't tell. The girls and I have started our last two mornings pumping "How He Loves in itunes." All I can say is when Jesus speaks and you really get what He is telling you and walk in obedience to what He speaks...oh the joy and peace. I love it!! That without not even 1 circumstance even changing. Perspective is HUGE. I am still praising him.

I also wanted to fill you in on my physical journey to forty and fabulous. I tell you this was another frustrating area for me as I got past 35. My metabolism just was not what it used to be but my eating stayed the same. I exercised 6 days a week and progress eluded me. I was starting to resign to the fact that I was just older and that was how it was. Weight watchers was a God send to me. It enabled me to take control of my food intake. It is kind of like finances. If you don't keep track of your spending then it can really get away from you and it is so easy to overspend. Weight Watchers helped me realize what a portion size or serving actually is. I am at a place right now where I am so satisfied with my results and I feel equipped to maintain them. I eat the foods that I enjoy eating like waffles, pancakes, pizza, ice cream you name it. Now I just eat them in calculated portions. I also eat way more fruit than I have ever eaten because you got to love zero point values.

Eric has also had success and he continues to move forward on his journey to fitness.

I work out 5 days a week now and my goal is to build lean muscle mass. More muscle means a higher metabolism and more food you can eat. The meals have been family friendly and even the boys have found some new favorites.

I didn't have tons to lose but all my clothes had reached a point of uncomfortable tightness. I refused to buy the next size up. I was determined to do what I could to not let myself go to the best of my ability.

All of this to say I am super pleased with myself. Look out 40 here I come!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Turning Back To Praise

Good Morning Dear Ones:

I told you when God spoke to me that I would jump at the chance to turn back and praise His glorious name. Sometimes when He speaks it is like a gentle breeze, and others, well... it's more like hurricane force winds.

Last night it was just like the song "How He Loves." You know the part, "loves like a hurricane, I am a tree bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy." I became totally aware of the next line too, "When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful you are and and how great your affections are for me."

As I sit here and type I am still stunned and amazed. It all came at me full force, last night at Bible study. It was our third session of Beth Moore's study on James. The session literally took my breath away. I sat in that church sanctuary and I think my jaw could have plainly gaped open. I mean it was like session three was written for just for me, Michelle, for this exact moment in time, for my story right now. I know it was probably applicable to every person in that room last night but that is exactly how individual and personal it felt to me.

The topic was on joy and anguish. It hit me right between the eyes. The past few months I can accurately describe my emotional state as experiencing anguish. Beth defined it as mental distress. Some examples were when you have pain plus anxiety or suffering plus dread or hurt plus harassment.  I could check yes to all three examples.

The biggest comfort to me was when Beth described how anguish and joy, both intense emotions, can coexist, trade places and my personal favorite morph into joy. When your nightmare becomes your dream. When God's redeeming power is majestically displayed. When your pain displays your purpose and passion. Your deliverance becomes a birth. She described how mental anguish is like childbirth. The Hebrew definition was "to turn in a circle, twist, revolve, to writhe, travail (in childbirth), bear a child...The main idea is that of writhing in pain, which is particularly associated with childbirth."

I having physically given birth four times and can relate to that incredible pain, but also to the incredible relief and joy that comes once the birth has taken place. The miracle of the new life. The delight of the gift that came with the birth. Pure excitement rises up in me when I recall those memories. And you know what came to mind, was my girls. My body did not carry them but my heart has. Those girls entering our home and hearts has not been without labor. They have brought birth pains, but you know what, they have also brought with those pains... incredible joy. Yes the two can coexist. Yes they can trade places, but what I am most stirred up about is how my God is going to convert and change all the anguish for joy. No one is going to ever be able to tell me I did not give birth to my precious chocolattes. Pure natural, no epidural births.

Pressing in once again has proved fruitful and bountiful. Personal and uplifting. I am rejuvenated and encouraged. Motivated and expectant. Thank you to those who have left me comments, sent e mails and text messages. Above all for your invaluable prayers. I am grateful. Be sure to see the small post after this one if you haven't already it has some recent news on Big Sister.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Good News I think

Dear Ones:

Today we had our first home visit with our new case worker. She was very nice so we were thrilled about that. And then she told us some news, and I think it is good. She told us that Big Sister will actually be transferring to an adoption worker this Friday. This will be the same adoption worker we had for Mercy. We also loved her. The weird thing is it is because regular case workers are overloaded so she actually isn't processing to adoption. She can't until the judge makes a decision on the 2nd appeal. But the good news is supervisors approved this move because they believe her case will eventually move in this direction all though they always warn you that anything can happen. So I guess that this was our first and last home visit with her.

It's weird because it is something, but not really a celebration...yet.

Please Dear Ones keep praying!

Monday, March 19, 2012

An Odd Place is a Good Place To Be

Dear Ones:

I'm at a really odd place right now. I feel very fragile or weak. Maybe thats a good place to be. I just read this scripture:

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

God has no greater canvas to work with then. I do want to share How he loved on me this past Sunday. It started with worship. Wouldn't you know one of the songs was "Blessed be your Name." The song from the end of my last post. And then One of my favorites. "Oh How He Loves." Then the whole sermon was on God's Love. Then to top it off some of the illustrations were about adoption. Needless to say I think God was trying to tell me something.

I've been so discouraged and lonely lately. Mad at circumstances. Soooo incredibly frustrated with things I can't control or change or figure out. Feeling like a failure as a Mom. Sad that a constant challenging part of my life is so foreign to practically everyone around me. Hating myself basically & thinking how could God love me when I am having such a hard time and reacting poorly none the less.

You know what,  honestly adoption isn't anything like I imagined it would be. I thought my motherhood joy and love would just expand except it would include girls this time and they would simply be a different color. I imagined them falling right in line with our boys. That just hasn't been the case when dealing with little ones with brain damage. I'll be honest I have lost all confidence in myself. I am weak.

In my bible study this week there are some verses that will totally cause a person in a dark spot to wrestle. Here it is:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because  you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything." James 1:2-5

Beth Moore pointed out that to consider is a "mental exercise not an emotion" also that "left alone, trials are robbers or takers and they steal from you. In Christ  they're commanded to give goods to us if we're ready to receive them." The testing of our faith produces perseverance ~ holding tight to Jesus.

So this is the question I am left with:

"What are you going to do with all your going through?" There is no other option but to turn to the one who is with me. I'm going to continue to do what the next verse says:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him." James 1:5

So, when I get another note home from school like the one I got today, that went on about Big Sisters defiance... then I am going to ask God.
When Mercy smears her feces all over the place, when the girls won't eat. When they won't potty train.When they are consistently disobedient, can't sleep, impulsive, embarrassing, and beyond my parenting skills I am just going to keep on asking him for wisdom. I am also going to keep on asking him to increase my faith and destroy my disbelief.  Because as the next verses say:

"But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he should receive anything from the Lord; He is a double minded man unstable in all he does." James 6-8

As Beth said so beautifully here "Faith receives more than it asks and doubt loses more than it disbelieves."

I'm going to be genuine along the way, but I believe somehow, someway my God is going to work all of this together for good.  I am going to find treasure in the trial.

I know someone else who was adopted. Someone else who was a mess. Someone else who messed up too many times to even keep track of. Someone else in need of good parenting. That someone was me. I am so thankful for my heavenly fathers love. His pure, unconditional, faithful, agape love. That love that NEVER gives up on me even when I am not even likable. He adopted me. What does that mean? It means he chose me on purpose to be his child. Just like I choose my girls... I know that I know that these current trials are going to "morph into gifts."

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