It's not as odd as it sounds...

Prayer happens everywhere, even in the tanning bed.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas Eve...

The day before... that is an amazing thought. The day before brings so much excitement and anticipation. It's all in your head. You have no real idea of what is coming. Such is true with Christmas Eve. #2 son says he likes Christmas Eve better than Christmas Day. Even in his 18 year old mind and body lurks a little boy who each year is disappointed by what is opened on the big day. He's the only one that I could never really get to grasp fully why what sat under the tree wasn't really important and even less so was whether it met his expectations. I pray that as he ages and begins his own family that he will embrace what Christmas is all about, always has been, always will be. It's funny though, because we never thought our kids would be "one of those kids". After all, Santa was not a part of our lives - his name is not even allowed to be mentioned in front of dad. Dad can't stand Santa. Not because the man who existed first was anything bad but because of what he has become. Something I am sure he would recoil at and tear up over.

Santa or no Santa, it's our job to instill the level of anticipation in our kids. They always play off our lead and when we work hard at helping them to understand all that Christmas is, especially that without Easter, Christmas is meaningless (another reason we don't invite the Easter Bunny over on Resurrection Day). So here we are, up incredibly late and well into the morning of Christmas Eve. A big day for us because for #2 Son and I... well, it is our favorite. Why we love our stockings and Christmas Eve PJ's so much is beyond me but even as a child I adored my stocking stuffers more even than the presents that greeted me the next day.

It will be very different for us this year, though. We will be Skyping with #1 Son instead of opening presents together in the same room. He is so self controlled... really he is. I sent him a little tree and some presents to put under it and they are just sitting there until we unwrap them tonight and some more tomorrow. We will have church tonight as well. An evening of singing glorious songs to our Lord and Savior with thanksgiving in our hearts for His submission to His Father in setting aside his glorious body to reduce Himself to becoming a man. The humiliation is something I cannot fathom and frankly, I try not to think about it. It's something I'd never love many people enough to do. He loved a world of people that didn't even acknowledge Him.

The reality of my rescue, the hope I have in heaven has never been more real to me than it has in the past several weeks.

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Galatians 4:4-6

Many of you read this blog post. I was honestly in despair and had no real idea of how I would possibly come out of it apart from a miraculous intervention from God. And as many of you know, He did intervene. In HIS way - a typical BIG, GOD way. He sent a precious sister in Christ who with her husbands consent, brought us a check for $8,000.00. It didn't take more than a nanosecond to realize that God didn't want us to back off of the adoption hopes and dreams, He wanted us to back off of our personal control of those hopes and dreams. Yes, He could have made my jewelry worth thousands more than what we were eventually offered but honestly, would we have hit our knees praising God? Not really, we would have been thankful that what MJF had so graciously gifted me with over the years ended up being a big helping of what we needed to bring home a little lost and hopeless girl. A little girl who needed rescuing. But when He speaks to the heart of a young couple with hopes and dreams of their own. Who have their own desires to save for necessities in order to be debt free and obedient to God with their finances. And yet, this is what they say... "We can get a new car later, there's a little girl in this world that can't wait until later."

Today, we are celebrating having finished a required Hague adoption course on line and diving into required reading. All of this and more to make positively sure we are the best family for one very special, precious little girl who has no idea what awaits her. But more than a warm bed and a loving family, toys and a dog and the opportunities she never could have had elsewhere - she will hear about a King who chose to reduce Himself to a man in order to walk amidst the worst of this world and then die for those of us, the worst, in order that we could be given eternal life in Heaven with God our Father. This little girl who has never known the love of a Father will not only bask in the love of an earthly father but will learn all about her Heavenly Father as well.

So, although today is the day before ... the day before He made His entrance into this dirty world in a dirty cave, to rest in a dirty manger, in some ways it's the day before for us as well. Although it will take months to accomplish the paperwork and other requirements that come with an International Adoption, it will feel like "the day before" the whole time. Each experience in the process will be new and we will be uncertain and yet excited. We will know that each time another expectation of us comes up we may be disappointed but it's ok because God's got it. This is HIS deal in every way, shape, and form. It has to be. None of us who embark upon this journey go into it with a savings account to handle the expenses. For most, someone handing them a check like we had handed to us would be a miracle of proportions they cannot fathom, however, it is not unfathomable to God. Psalm 50:10 says  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills... He owns it all. To speak to the hearts of His own adopted children to help provide $30,000.00 dollars to adopt a precious child in China is nothing to Him. That is true. But THAT is not what convinced me to put aside my wonder at just HOW that money was going to arrive. What convinced me that I needed to dive headfirst into this was that I completely trust Him with my Salvation. Which is harder to grant, Salvation or $30,000.00? Easy answer... we all know; yet we so rarely step out on financial faith.
Because MJF speaks Mandarin we are hoping
we can adopt from a province that speaks

So, our 2012 journey is one that is more meaningful than any journey we've ever taken. We are embarking on an adventure to find our daughter. That little girl who God knew the day she was conceived - and even before - that she belonged to us - even if for just awhile. We believe she lives as an orphan in China. We believe, actually, that we have found her. It will be sometime in January before we are sure if that is so. In the meantime, please pray for us this year. We all have so much to learn about stepping out in faith and trusting in God for everything. We have two grown sons who, for the first time in their lives, may see the hand of God do incredibly more than they have ever imagined and for them, bringing this little sister home will signify their submission in totality to all that God wants them to be. For two younger siblings, they may find the joy of adoption to be one that will forever be etched into their being and may prove to shape the look and feel of their own families one day. For MJF and I, we are just amazed at how God works individually in our family. He knows us infinitely well. He knows that we still have years of service and that He continues to mold and to shape us into the people He wants and needs us to be. This experience will do that in the same way  Rebekah Joy's death did so many years ago. We will not return from China the same family that left. Besides adding a daughter and sister He will have added supernatural changes to who we all are and who we will become.

We wait in expectation as He leads us to the daughter only HE knew lived on the other side of the world.

Merry Christmas Eve.

May your hearts be tender toward the things of God as you reflect on the sacrifice a King made for you and for me and for a little China doll in an orphanage on the other side of the world.