Friday, September 30, 2011

Is it Christmas?

I have SO much to say but I must keep it short...I am afraid I won't be able to sleep tonight because tomorrow may be one of the most exciting nights of my year!  The past week has been big for us. Mark traveled to Atlanta for the week for training for his new job, praise the Lord! We are thankful:)  Eli and Haig have been battling pneumonia, which meant 7 doctor visits in 12 days and one chest x-ray.  McCall was sick too but not as badly. They are all on their second round of antibiotics. but we seem to be on the upswing.

Well, in the midst, of that semi-normal chaos....came an amazing blessing:)  On Wed. Sept 21st, Vanessa Brown (our pastor's wife and dear friend) left me a message saying she had some exciting news.
When I finally talked to her she told me that she had nominated us on the website for an extreme home mini-makover...and WE WON!!!  You can read the post here that announced we won and her wonderful nomination letter.  Can you say oh my goodness?!?

So we were awarded $2,500 to prepare for the arrival of our new little ones.  The plan is to make our playroom into a room for Haig and Eli, and make the current upstairs, boys room into a nursery.  God has so beautifully orchestrated an amazing team of volunteers and so many little details to make this happen.  Vanessa put on her foreman's hat and took the lead.  She asked Lauren Mendenhall a designer from Charleston if she would help and we are so thankful she said yes!  She came last Saturday and spent some time with us and the boys at the house talking about things we like and dislike and getting a feel for our needs and what we envision.

Vanessa asked if I would be willing to give them my preferences and then just let them go with it.  I willingly agreed:)  I'm a simple girl. I go naturally for function and comfort.  I love pretty, and artistic and design but that doesn't come naturally to me.  So decorating and the thought of ME having to make decisions like that makes my blood pressure go WAY up!  What an amazing gift to have someone gifted and talented like Lauren come in and hear my heart and decorate based on that!!  And then Vanessa with her incredible gifts of organization and leadership come in and organize my space and rally the troops!  And as much as we are preparing for the little ones that will eventually come into our home...decorating for them and spending the money needed to truly redecorate or add on to a room...the funds for that just weren't available, honestly, nor the energy or vision.  So this makeover is providing a miracle.  It is turning what we have, water ....into wine!

Yesterday the heavy duty hard work started and volunteers were at our house from 7:30 a.m. until probably 1 a.m. the next day.  They were back again at 7:45 a.m. this morning!  We spent the night at our wonderful friends, the Franks house last night and this weekend we are bedding down with Grandma Pat.  They want to surprise us as much as possible with the final product:)

Today when I would drive down Edisto Drive there were cars in every spot possible in the driveway and yard. There were anywhere between 15-20 volunteers at the house at any given time.  People made lunch and snacks and brought food for the volunteers.   I was planning to do that today but before I could finish the plan I was told it was taken care of.  What amazes me is how God is preparing the way for Hope and whoever else He brings into our family.  He is already writing their story through the sacrificial efforts and love of people...our friends, our church community....and we don't even have a picture of Hope yet!  I get to share with our little ones some day that Mommy and Daddy didn't just pray for, work for, sacrifice for and prepare for them...a whole community made the way for them.

We are the recipients of unmerited favor...we are so thankful and overwhelmed at God's grace and goodness.  Yesterday we also received the wonderful news that the first two families to apply for adoption from the Tender Hearts Babies Home, which is the home from which we are adopting, received a positive verdict from the judge.  That means they are in Uganda now with their children and will be allowed to bring them home to the US next week.  This is huge!  Our process could not move past the paperwork and referral stage until these families came home.  We are SO thankful!

So the mini-makeover plan is to be done sometime tomorrow so they can do the "reveal" to the family.  We are truly thrilled.  I just can't stop smiling:)  Seriously!!  So check back here tomorrow night or at the latest hopefully Monday for pics of before and AFTER!!!  OH MY GOODNESS I CAN HARDLY WAIT!!!  I feel like it is Christmas!!!  Thank you Leading and Loving It!! Thank you Vanessa!! Thank you Jesus!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Where we're at...growing...

This song has really been ministering to me over the past couple of weeks. It just speaks to where my heart is at right now. We are resting in the peace that Mark is about to start his new job and the after glow of God's amazing goodness and provision through friends and anonymous friends loving us through this time. Yet we still feel ourselves stretching and growing as a result of all He has shown us over the last few months.

Isaiah 61 is a chapter I have been and continue to pray over and through as we seek the Lord's daily calling for our family. We want this to be true of us:
"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Is. 61:3b
And the chapter seems to say that this result comes from the Lord doing a mighty work IN us..."to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.." v. 3a  When He does a work in us it is not usually comfortable or fun but certainly necessary and worth it!  We are in process:)

The beginning of the chapter also says, "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn." V1-2

I have been brokenhearted, poor, captive and in need of comfort. He was there. We want to be there for other captives and walk them into the light. We want our family to be about His business.

And check out verse 7: "Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance: and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs."

How about that? Whoo hoo!! We feel like the Lord has truly poured out a double portion in our lives through this season. A double portion of provision financially, in friendship, in favor and in growth. He is so, so good! We are expectantly watching and waiting for ways the Lord might allow us to bless others and walk in obedience.

The thing is though, to be honest, those first few verses that speak of the brokenhearted and captives and all. That's messy, tiring, hard work y'all. Just keeping it real:) We have been through those seasons and it ain't easy! But you know what He rescued me and He rescued us!!! So when you see me getting tired or whiny remind me to look at my wrists....the scars from the shackles that used to bind me...that'll be enough to shut me up and set me on my feet again:)  Thanks for walking with us!!

And an adoption update:  We do have to make a few addendums to our home study so we are in the process of filling out that paperwork.  It will then be sent back through our agency, DSS and then USCIS for approval.  During this process we will also finish up our dossier and send that in to our agency as well.  Prayerfully once all that is complete we will be next in line for a referral.  I know that really just sounds like: "oh they still have to fill out more paperwork and wait!."  You're right:)  So keep praying for our little ones, wherever they are!!!