Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Amelia's Rest


It is Saturday night.

I am rocking Amelia in the dark, trying to listen to the crickets outside rather than my own sharp and raspy lullaby.  Amelia touches my lips and "sings" along, and I can tell that she thinks my off-key song is beautiful.  I think she's beautiful.  We trace each other's faces and fingers as we hum.

My mind wanders back several days, to when I showed Amelia a picture of Mama Sarah.  Sarah was Amelia's favorite caretaker in the orphanage.  I cannot overstate how much they loved each other.  For weeks after  Amelia came home to us,  we would get Amelia to smile for photos by yelling "Sarah" in a Ugandan accent.

I always want Amelia to know Sarah's face, the first face that she knew as love...


And so last week, I showed Amelia a picture of herself with Mama Sarah.

Amelia laughed, grabbing for the laptop and yelling her baby-talk version of "Sarah." She stared for a long time.  Then Amelia turned to me, cried, and slapped me in the face.

My baby slapped me in the face. She hasn't done that since Africa.

I know, baby. You miss Sarah, and you're mad that I'm not her.

I think about this as I sing to sleepy Amelia in the dark... about my baby slapping my face, and how she both loves me and resists me... how she has bonded to us more quickly than we ever imagined, and how there is still so much bonding to be done.

Before long, Amelia is deep asleep in my arms, body limp and breath deep.  I linger in her room for a long time, relishing this rare moment when I as an adoptive mother am recognized by my baby as her safety; her comfort; her rest.  This isn't the daily norm for Amelia.  It is different for her than it was for our biological daughter Caroline.  Even at the age of three, Caroline's instinct is still to yell "mama" when she is hurt or scared.  But Amelia is having to learn what comes naturally to other children:  She is having to learn what it means to have a mom.

I just want to be a place of rest for Amelia.

Rest.

The thought hits me like a wave, and I laugh out loud.  The word "rest" has been jumping out of Scripture during my quiet times lately.  I have stared at the word curiously.  I have turned it over and over in my mind, and I have prayed for God to show me what it means to "enter His rest."

And once again, this tiny brown toddler sleeping in my arms has unknowingly opened my mind to some of the mysteries of God.  She has cracked the window of heaven just a bit more for me. I feel the warmth of eternal beams shining around our rocking chair and I know:

REST means knowing who our Father is.

Just as I want Amelia to rest with me as her mother, God wants us to rest with Him as our Father.  Rest means trusting that He loves us.  Enjoying that He is in control. Ceasing to resist Him.

Rest means learning that His arms are a safe place... And sometimes, as Amelia is teaching me, a place to curl up and sing to Him as He sings over us.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Braggart Me

I had an incredible weekend. I don’t want to make you jealous, but let’s just say this: I have incredible friends. I have an incredible family. I have an incredible tan. (Okay, okay, stop throwing tomatoes at me – they might hit our gorgeous new 5 year anniversary gift to each other!)

To be fair, I spent two years on this blog complaining about wanting to bring our daughter home – Can’t I now spend one post bragging about how great life is? Ha!

Anyway, our weekend was relaxing to say the least.

Calming.

Soothing.

Peaceful.

Restful.

Which reminds me that I promised to write a post about entering God’s rest.

To be honest, this is a developing idea within my little pea-brain – yet it is a very well developed theme in Scripture. So I think that I will start my train of thought tomorrow with some quotes from a great little article I recently read. It forever changed my views about Sabbath!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Random Pics

My girls spent the weekend with my parents and sister. Oh the fun that they had. And Amelia's attachment could not be in a better place -- a weekend away proves that she feels secure enough to leave, and attached enough to be overjoyed at the sight of her parents on Sunday evening.  Praise God for His lavish gifts.


Monday, May 23, 2011

It is Finished

This morning, I talked to a friend who is having a really hard time. I’ve spent some time in the same shadowy valley that seems to be enclosing her now. As I tried to encourage her, Jesus’ death-drenched words echoed in my ears: “It is finished.”



I wonder what those who loved Jesus thought of those words. Did they think they were words of defeat? That HE was finished? That His ministry and kingdom were over?



Yet less than a week later, they would learn that his words were victorious! Triumphant! Jesus was not finished. We are not finished. Our terrible situation is not the last word. DEATH is finished. SIN and SICKNESS are finished. The powers of darkness are finished.


And so today, as my friend bends under the painful weight of hopelessness, I can confidently assure her that “it is finished.”  We ARE “more than conquerors.”  We are not GOING to be more than conquerors. It is already done.

Finished.

I know. I know. It doesn't seem finished. We live in a world full of cancer diagnoses and malice and brokenness and pain. Jesus recognizes this fact. And then he tells us to “take heart, for I have overcome the world.” Already.



Isn’t that the way our Christian faith works? We believe in an invisible God and take hold of promises that are yet unseen. We rejoice already in a victory we’ve not yet fully tasted. We are living ironies: practicing sinners made righteous by faith; fools leaning on the wisdom of God. Because we are weak and unable to overcome, He becomes champion for us.

We don’t only apply our future victories to the afterlife. We believe that God will guide us through many earthly valleys into the bright light of his triumph. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” Romans 8:28. We believe it. Even in the midst of the trials that crucify us with our Savior, we declare:

It ...

is ...

finished.

As God's, we have already won.
Amen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In the Meantime...

My post on "entering God's rest" is in the works... inside of my brain, that is! Brad is lending me some much needed HUMAN-style rest tonight, (as opposed to divine rest,) so no thoughtful posts from me.  My brain is in neutral.  Thoughts from this head will have to wait. Much like Caroline's Easter eggs waited!



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Scrambled Eggs" Oops! I meant "REST and Eggs"

This weekend, Caroline and I dyed Easter eggs.

Yes, THIS many weeks AFTER Easter. We only now got around to keeping our Easter promise to Caroline. Geez.

Those belated Easter eggs pant a pastel picture of my life right now. I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off… er… a chicken forgetting my eggs… er… you know what I mean!

And I keep hearing the same thing from so many friends. “Can’t keep up.” “Not myself.” “So busy.” We are weary with heads spinning. We go! go! go! and wonder, when will we ever REST?



And then I read in Hebrews the other day about “entering God’s REST.”


Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….   (sigh)


Doesn’t that sound – well – DIVINE?



Sure, I could use some regular old rest: body horizontal and brain in neutral. But divine rest? “God’s rest”YES! Give me some of THAT!

In the past week, God taught me some sweet truths about HIS rest. And so I will soon be posting my thoughts, and hopefully Biblical truth, about “His rest.”

Stay tuned.

Don’t we all need some divine rest?

(Hopefully, my post about rest won’t be as delayed as Caroline’s Easter eggs! That would be egg on my face!!)


Friday, May 6, 2011

Changed Forever

The day we met Amelia


Adoption.

It's amazing how that one little word has transformed my world.

In my wildest dreams, I couldn't have imagined how those 8 little letters entering my vocabulary would ignite my heart, awaken my love for God, increase my understanding of truth, and shower blessings into my life.

Other than adoption, can Christians take any other step of faith that so transforms, awakens, and enriches?  I doubt it. I have a living display of the gospel currently sleeping in her crib.  And as I watch her breathe softly and feel my heart well up with unmeasurable love, I remember that God loves me even more than this.  It's unfathomable.

If you live in Montgomery and are interested in adoption, come to our church Monday night.  We'll talk adoption. Bring every question and concern you have.  And hopefully, your world will never be the same again.

We're already praying for you.

Informational Meeting
for those (even slightly!) interested in
International or Domestic Adoption
Presented by 
Lifeline Adoption Agency
at
St. James United Methodist Church
in
Montgomery, AL 
Monday, May 9
6pm

To anyone willing to link to this post an help us get the word out, we'd be so grateful!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jay & God's Amazing Plans

I posted the other day about the fact that we are not planning to adopt "Jay".  (and the guilt that I've felt in that.)  Well last week, Jay told us that a New York family is flying him up in June for a visit... and they are considering adopting him!! Would that not be amazing?



If this all plays out like we're hoping, I'm not sure that my jaw will ever come up from the ground as we look at the wisdom of God's plans!  How incredible if God is drawing the RIGHT family to Jay during the same weeks that we're deciding that that family is not us!

Will you please pray with me that God has a family in store for sweet Jay?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Remembering the Pit

7 years ago
My childhood best friend and I shared many things throughout our lives. We shared friends, clothes, school-bus rides, beds, cries, boyfriends… (Ahem... but that's another story. One which we easily lived to tell! Or not tell, ha!)  We encouraged each other spiritually… and sometimes, we spent precious God-given time in the pits of sin… at the same time.

The other day, we remembered our time in the pit.

We don’t laugh about it. They weren’t our “glory days.” It still hurts to think about the wedge we placed between ourselves and the Savior who loved us, even as we drove the nails through His flesh.

My heart aches often for the high school students in our youth group. They look so much like my friend and I looked as we left for college… on fire for God and strong in conviction. I pray with my entire heart that college draws them closer to their Savior, rather than doing to them what it did to us.

If only I could explain to those girls what temptation awaits them. The selfish desires that they think they are strong enough to fight in their own power. How I would tell them to cling to the power of the Holy Spirit, rather than the willpower of their own flesh. If pride comes before the fall, then sweet young girls, humble yourselves!

I am so in awe of the way that God redeems all. Even our pits of sin. He does not let them go to waste, but turns it around to serve His purposes.

My friend and my babies. Amelia looks 12 years old in this one! :)

Still, it hurts to remember my sin. I never want to spend another day seeking MYSELF when I could instead spend it seeking MY SAVIOR. It is such a struggle. Even this week, I’ve come face to face with the strength of my own fleshly desires. But my hope is in the truth that HE is the one who draws me near as I draw near to Him. As I keep my eyes upon Him, I will surely learn that His allure is stronger than even the depths of my sinful heart. He is so good. We are more than victorious – already conquerors – through Him!