Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chosing Joy!

***This is for Cheese, Kristina and anyone else needing a little devotional.

“Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!” Philippians 4:4

The author, Paul, is serious about joy, telling us twice in this passage to rejoice! The word “rejoice” means “to practice joy, to take delight in and be glad”. Many times, life makes it impossible to be happy but we need to understand that happiness is not what Paul is calling us to. Happiness is a cheap imitation of true joy and totally dependent on the circumstances of life. Joy, however, is a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control no matter what the circumstances of life may be. Joy is a choice.

Paul’s situation, while writing this letter, could make you wonder why he was even writing about joy, of all things. He was in prison under Roman house arrest, awaiting trial and almost certain execution because of his faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, he tells us to rejoice! Don’t miss this! What Paul is really telling us is a life-changing truth! Our inner attitudes do not have to reflect our outward circumstances. In other words, we cannot always find joy in our circumstances but we can always find joy in the Lord of the circumstances.

You have probably discovered that there is absolutely no way in this world to escape pain, but we can avoid joy. The pursuit of joy is a matter of choice. Our first and most important choice is to come to the only source of true joy - Jesus Christ. We must also choose to rejoice in the midst of every circumstance - good or bad – and keep our focus on God, gladly accepting His plan for our lives. We must choose a joyful perspective. A little boy asked his friend. “Wouldn’t you hate to wear glasses all the time?” "No-o-o," the other boy answered slowly, “not if I had the kind grandma wears. She sees how to fix a lot of things. She sees lots of nice things to do on rainy days and she always sees what you meant to do even if you mess things up! I asked her one day how she could see that way all the time and she said, ‘It is the way I choose to look at things.’ So it must be her glasses." When we choose joy, we are choosing against worry!

by: Mary Southerland
'Girlfriends in God'

Father, when worry gets the best of me, please, help me to see life as You see it and to choose Your perspective instead of my own. Lead me into Your peace as I learn to trust You wholly. In Your son's name, Amen.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It’s been a while since my last post - longer than I anticipated. The holiday season has kept us all busy. My absence certainly is not due to the lack of things to share with all of you. With three kids, lots going on and our recent family excursions, there is always plenty to share. I have always shared through this blog. I enjoy writing. Lately, however, it’s been hard to write. It’s been difficult to share.

I try very hard to look at life through a glass that is half-full. I always try to do this. I am an optimist and look at things in a positive way – almost always! I work very hard at counting my blessings and being thankful for the new day ahead. There is always something to smile about and something to celebrate. There is always something to be thankful for – always!

Each day, I continue to count my blessings and thank the Lord for all I have in my life. However, recently, I have wanted to --- complain. I have wanted to whine a little bit. It is just so out of character and something I am not comfortable doing. I catch myself pointing out what’s bothering me and turning it into something positive. This is good, I guess, but today it is just not working for me...

So, here on my family blog, where I share the good I am also going to share the not so good. It is here I am going to be me – honest….

Fifteen months ago, Mike and I committed to adopting Jonathan. Three months after, we committed to the adoption of Daniel. At that time, we began working on our paperwork for an international adoption. And, although the paperwork trail had some bumps in the road, we prepared our dossier in a timely manner. We did not stress about the mounds of work, piles of papers and endless running around. We took it in stride checking off one item at a time on the to-do list. Our government approval came, and soon after our dossier was ready to send down to Haiti. We were finished with our side of the paperwork, handed it all over in Haiti and attended our DHS appointment. The wheels were in motion. The Haitian side of the adoption had begun!

This all happened well over seven months ago. Seven months ago, we prayed that the boys’ paperwork would be ready. Seven months ago we anxiously waited for the green light for our file to enter IBESR – the first step in the Haitian adoption process. Well, here we are seven months later. Still waiting. Still waiting for Daniel’s paperwork to be processed. Still waiting for that green light.

Most days, I get through the wait without a hitch. I am so thankful Daniel and Jonathan live in such a wonderful place getting such terrific care. I am grateful for this transition as they become healthier and stronger and prepare to come home. I feel so very blessed to be able to visit the boys so often. I am truly lucky to be developing such a close bond to them as we wait.

There are days, however, I want to cry. I want to question why there is such a long process to declare a little boy, who was found abandoned on the streets of Port au Prince, an orphan. There are certainly days when I want to wonder what in the world is going on with the need for paper after paper, form after form and letter after letter to officially call him adandoned. I want to understand what the Lord is trying to teach me through this wait. There are days when I struggle with being positive and understanding. There are days when I wish our file would just enter IBESR. Today is one of those days.

I. Just. Wish. Our. File. Would. Enter. IBESR.

I know I cannot rush this process. I know I cannot wish this process along. I know it is all happening for a reason – a reason only the Lord knows. Usually, I am okay with this. Usually, I am okay with putting all of this into God’s hands and letting Him take care of it all. But, today, I am struggling. Today I just wish we had some sort of place in this adoption process. Somewhere other than waiting… Today I just wish we did not have to wait anymore. Today I just wish I could give it all back to the Lord.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008