Saturday, April 30, 2011

We are Psychotic

I am once again blown away by my own materialism.  And I have now learned that my materialism is "psychotic"!!! What a great quote...

We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic.  It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality.  We crave things we neither need nor enjoy.  We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like. [...] It is time to awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick. [...] This psychosis permeates even our mythology.  The modern hero is the poor boy who purposefully becomes rich rather than the rich boy who voluntarily becomes poor. [...]  Covetousness we call ambition.  Hoarding we call prudence.  Greed we call industry.
- Richard J. Foster Celebration of Discipline

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Adoption and Jewelry

Update: This happens TODAY!

If you want to help our friends the Godwin's bring their daughter Zoe Grace home from Africa, then we have a PARTY to invite you to!


Out of towners -- no fear! Shop here and enter "Rachel and April" as your hosts when you check out.


There's only one catch.


You must love fabulous jewelry. 


Or have a female in your life who loves great jewelry.
(Can you say MOTHER'S DAY!?)


Or you could be a single guy who is just hoping really hard to someday meet a girl who likes great jewelry.  You could meet her! You really could! ;-)  Better start shopping now for someone so wonderful!


Or you may be a female who is simply the world's best friend/sister/daughter/coworker/etc...


Oh yes. And there is one more catch.


You must be able to live with yourself when you find out that 100% of the PROFIT (which is about 30% of your purchase price) goes straight to helping the Godwin family bring baby Zoe Grace home from Ethiopia.   So easy, right!?


To shop, either go here and enter "Rachel and April" as your hosts when you check out...

OR....

... if you live in Montgomery you can come to the live party. It is TODAY! Details below.

Stella and Dot Jewelry Party
to benefit Godwin family adoption
TODAY!
(Thursday 4.28.2011)
at 9-12 or at 4-8pm
5843 Sanrock Terrace
Montgomery, AL 36116

It will be fun!


There will be snacks!


See you there!



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fire in My Bones


Perhaps this is word vomit and thoughts that I should keep to myself so I won't be put to shame if none of them ever come to pass, but...

I want to teach.

I am embarrassed to admit that.  I realize that wanting to teach God's Word might imply that I think I have some special gift or knowledge.  But that is not what I am saying! I just want to be used. And I see again and again in Scripture where God uses the weak, the empty, the poor, the unable. He MAKES them able to serve His purposes.

And I want to be used.

I am crying out to God for it.

I ache for it.

Here is the thing. I know that God is moving.  He is acting, and His perfect plans are progressing. There is nothing that I can add or subtract to all that God intends to do. His glory will be known.

I just want to be a part of the process.

What if I sit idly by? Will God stop loving me? No! I am His child forever! 

Even so, I DON'T WANT TO SIT IDLY BY!

I want God's Word to burn so deeply from within me that I HAVE to speak! That I HAVE to act! That failing to do so would feel like a burning "fire shut up in my bones." (see Jer. 20:9)

So...

what do I do?
How do I respond?
Where do I serve?

I
don't
know.

So, yes, I will wait in His Word, continuing to seek Him. But I also wonder whether I should just DO something.  SOMEthing. SOMETHING!

Is all of the Christian life a lesson in learning to wait well on the Lord? 

Monday, April 25, 2011

What Makes Life Meaningful

Without knowing the depths of the beauty of God,
you will never reach the heights of praise...
and that is what makes life meaningful.
- John MacArthur

What a stunning quote. God, show us the depths of Your beauty, and then takes us to the heights of praising You!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Our Easter Weekend

Our Easter weekend was...

Exhausting but REWARDING!

Full of sickness and HEALING...

Brokenness and hope of REDEMPTION

Pouring out and being FILLED TO OVERFLOWING.

I wish I could tell you the stories.
But it's pointless -- there's no conveying in words all that God did in our lives over a few short days.  HE is so good!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Update on Jay

A few friends recently asked me whether we hang out with "Jay" anymore.  (He's a twelve year old boy from a nearby group foster home whom we've seen at least weekly for the past year.)

The short answer is yes. We still hang out with Jay.

We took a few weeks adjusting to life with Amelia before we resumed our "hang outs" with Jay, and we've only recently ramped back up to our old standard weekly visits.  In the summer, we always see him more and spend frequent weekends with him.


So if he's still a huge part of our family life, why don't I write about him anymore?

G
U
I
L
T

It is such a tough situation. Jay is about to turn 13, and I have no idea whether he will or won't be adopted someday.  To make matters worse, barring an act of God, we will not be adopting Jay.  It took us a long time to come to that conclusion, but that is where we stand for now.  Yes, we always want to be involved in his life... but we probably won't ever call him our son. I could attempt to justify this to you, because we do have our reasons... but it exhausting, and I don't really know what God thinks of our decision or have the emotional energy to worry about what other people think of it.

There. It's on the table.


That feels better. And now that its aired, I won't feel so strange talking about the sweet boy who is such a big part of our life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

African Hair Advice

I am NO expert on African hair. In fact, I've probably done Amelia's hair less than 10 times! (Maybe far less??) Mrs. Linda, Amelia's SAINT of a teacher at the church, keeps doing her hair for me!

Let me tell you... it is a relief.

When I do Amelia's hair, it OFTEN ends up in tears. And I don't just mean from Amelia. When my baby cries from pain that I inflict, you better believe that my tears get going, too!

Even so, I have learned just a few tips for African hair. Believe me, the things I am sharing have changed my hair-care LIFE! :-)

TIP #1:
Buy a Tangle Teezer brush!  Mine was about $10 on Amazon, and it instantly cut my de-tangling time by more than half! I have no idea why all of the ads show white people.  This brush is so incredible on African hair!


TIP #2:
Watch a YouTube video about how to do a two strand twist. I've only done this once, but it was much easier than braiding. And best of all, when you take it out, it becomes a "two strand twist out," which looks like a "twist" on the classic afro to me, (at least as long as the hair is not so long,) and I love it!




TIP #3:
Shampoo is almost never needed. Learn what it means to "conditioner-wash."




TIP #4:
It is unnecessary (and even detrimental) to detangle daily. Opt for once every week or two.


TIP #5:
Pray for an angel to come along and do your child's hair. Mrs. Linda has no idea how she makes me WEEK each time she does Amelia's hair!  Don't get jealous. I know I'm lucky, but please... don't get jealous!

And there you have it.  Every last ounce of knowledge I have about African hair. Please don't ask any questions, because my experience has been fully exhausted by this ridiculously uninformative post! :)





Adoption and Redemption


Last Easter Day, Amelia was born.
31 years ago on Easter Day, my husband Brad was born.



Is that not amazing? I love it that Brad and Amelia were both born on Easter -- a day about resurrection... new life... darkness turning into unimaginable hope.

It's no doubt that God smiled on the day that Brad was born, and on the day that Amelia was born... that as churches celebrated Jesus leaving the tomb, a father and a daughter were leaving the womb.

Praise God for the beautiful stories that He weaves!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Just Because They're Cute...



Today we're meeting a new group of friends who are going on a missions trip to Uganda. It's always fun to talk about things you love!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lightning


Outside right now, it is raining and thundering. Tornado sirens are wailing and hail is also threatens.  And there is lightning. Beautiful lightning. And I am reminded that somehow, God's beauty always shines through in the storm.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Isn't This Our Story?

It is so easy to read the Old Testament and think that the wayward Israelites were foolish. But isn't it OUR story?

God promises us victory, but also requires that we COMPLETELY turn away from anything that might sour our hearts towards Him.

"When the LORD your God brings you into the and that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, [...] and you defeat hem, you must devote them to complete destruction. [...] for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods."
Deut. 7:1-2,4

God fulfills His promises to us in full.

"The LORD gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. [...] Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass."
Joshua 21:43,45

Even while we are enjoying the blessings God has poured upon us, we allow ungodly influences to remain in our lives... the very influences He told us to rid ourselves of.

"But the people of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem."
Judges 1:21

The influences... well... they influence us! And we abandon the very God who saved us and worked countless miracles in our lives.

"And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt.  They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger."
Joshua 2:12

And the very thing that we did not destroy, the thing of which we said, "Oh it is ONLY an influence. Why should we destroy it?"  That very thing then rules over us. And we are in bondage once again.

"They did not destroy the peoples, as the LORD commanded them, but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did. They served their idols, which became a snare to them.  They sacrificed their sons and daughters to the demons [...] Then the anger of the LORD was kindled [...] he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them.
Psalm 106:34-37,40,41

Thank You God, that while this story is US, you offer grace after grace through the blood of Jesus.

That which we do not conquer in God's name will RULE US.  Dear God, let YOU be the only One to conquer us! Rule us! Amen.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Beauties

 Sometimes I wish I could see God at work more clearly. Some days He feels ESPECIALLY invisible.  And then I look at my girls. And I wonder how in the world I missed the miracles.




Monday, April 11, 2011

Time for Change

"When you always do what you've always done,you'll always get what you always got."- words of wisdom from one of the amazing women in my very diverse Bible study group!

Ok, God... I don't want to "get what I've always got." I am ready for change. By Your power.  I will wait in Your Word. BRING IT!!!

How about the rest of You? Are you ready for God to bring RADICAL change to your heart, your family, your life? Then let's ASK FOR IT!

I am praying for it in my life. Daily.
And I will pray for it in yours if you are also ready to let God tear down our false gods and free fall into His arms. Email me if you're interested in CHANGE. We can pray for each other.

 Change is coming!!!

rachelgoode1@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

HIV Adoption: Not So Scary

Last August, I began a short series born from God opening my eyes to the NEED and the BEAUTY of HIV+ adoptions.  No, Amelia is not HIV+.  But perhaps the adoption of a precious HIV+ child is in our future... OR YOURS!!!

Brad found an unbiased article published on MSN regarding HIV adoptions. So if you didn't want to take my word for it when I made my inexperienced stab at an HIV blog series, read the article!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Amelia!


Twelve months ago today, sweet Amelia left the darkness of the womb to meet the promise of sunlight streaming through the open windows of a Ugandan birthing clinic. It would take nine hours for that same sun to shine upon our part of the globe.  Had I known then what splendor the sun had just witnessed in Africa, I might have bathed in its sweet warm rays all day.

How remarkable – that God performs miracles like that… like beloved long-hoped-for-daughters being born… even when we do not know what is happening!  Is He weaving such magnificence all of the time?  What marvel is He creating even now?



What was I doing on the day that our daughter was born?  I was aching and praying for her, I know.  But on Amelia’s birthday, was I joyfully believing that God’s hand was directing all things?  I don’t know.  It is possible that I was feeling despair – on the very day that the answer to our prayers was born!

In those days, when the earth would turn its back on the sun, darkness often seeped into my heart and suffocated my hope.  Did the darkness also dishearten our precious daughter?  From the day she was born, she saw the darkness of night 308 times before her parents came to her.  Did God whisper light into her heart?

It is bright today on Amelia’s first birthday.  We are celebrating.  We see the sun.



The sun may have been the only witness to the miracle of Amelia’s birth, but my own eyes are sore with the beauty that unfolds before me each day.  Our birthday girl is thriving.  We are amazed by the daughter who came from darkness but lives reflecting His Light – all smiles, all laughter, all kisses and hugs.

What a difference God can make in one year. I have to wonder – what darkness is He turning to light even now?  How different will our lives once again look as Spring buds next year?



Thank God for Amelia… for our birthday girl who reminds me that miracles and beauty are always around the corner… always waiting patiently behind the despair… always ready to bloom in His perfect time.

We love you, birthday girl! This world has been blessed to witness your sweet life for one year. Happy birthday to Amelia.  You have made our family complete!