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I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.

Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
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Monday, September 3, 2012

Reading, Reading, Reading

Why is it that I always seem to get really passionate about something right when school's starting up again?  Right when all my leisure summer time has disappeared, and I have to figure out how to schedule it all in?  Last year at this time, I was busily finishing up the last few pages of "our story", the book I never knew God was going to have me write.  I don't even remember the first few weeks of school last year because I was so consumed by writing that story.  This year, I find myself immersed into several books, along with tons of Scripture, desiring nothing more than to know and love God more and spend as much time alone with Him as possible before I start my day.  I say that with all sincerity because He literally woos me out of my bed very early every morning just to do so.  The poem on the right of this blog is truly my life poem, one that God has used to help me encourage many other women to give themselves to Him first each day, as well.  

So here's what I've been reading right now:

On Mission with God.  Can I just say, amazing?  I'm in a very confusing stage of life right now, not knowing what's coming, not sure how to prepare myself or my family, and not knowing how we'll be provided for.  It's very scary, to be sure.  I keep hearing the same message, the same question being asked of me.  Are you  willing to give it all in order to follow Him?  There are days when my honest answer has been that I just don't know.  If it weren't for my husband's vibrant faith in what God is obviously doing, I don't know that I would go through this again.  I have to daily surrender my fears to God and accept that He is all I need.  I've been so encouraged and inspired by the seven Biblical characters  investigated in this study that God used in mighty ways, seeing all that they had to give up, but then seeing how the glory that God received through them is matchless.  I want to live like that.

Praying God's Word.  What a great way to start the day.  A few weeks ago my pastor (the one who endorsed my book) asked me how I was praying regarding our current situation.  I told him that I just put those two boys in God's hands every day and ask that His will be done.  I will be more than honest to say that my heart is truly not in this process.  Last time around, the process (as difficult and tedious as it was) was a complete joy to me because I thought I knew what it was leading to.  This time around, the process is quite a valley-like experience, one that I'm dragging my feet through.  So, back to the conversation with my pastor, I told him that sometimes I just didn't even know how to pray regarding everything.  He recommended that I just pray His Word back to Him, so that very night I dug out my book by Beth Moore, Praying God's Word, and I pray through several pages of verses every day.  It really helps to keep my focus on Christ and His will rather than to be focused on myself and my circumstances.  I highly recommend it.

The Purpose Driven Life.  I got several free copies at Half-Price Books some time ago, and I've just given them out occasionally to people.  Well, this summer I was cleaning out some more stuff, and I offered several of them to the ladies in my Bible study group that came over one day for a movie.  One of them began reading it almost a month ago and told me how incredible it was.  She began sharing quotes that really stood out to her, so I was inspired to start reading it again myself.  I got Julian the  audio version, so I am trying to encourage him to stay on track with me and listen to a chapter a day.  It's been such a great reminder that our sole purpose is to know and love God and to let Him be known to everyone we meet.  My purpose is not to be a great teacher, to complete an adoption, to be a successful parent or adoptive parent, to be a missionary, to be a fun Mom, to have a close family, to decorate my house, to be frugal and save money, to be proud of my savings account, to give to others, to be an inspirational writer, or to have cute clothes and a cute hair style.  Our purpose is to know HIM and love HIM.  He may, in turn, give us many of these things or lead us to do certain things, but if they come before knowing and loving HIM, then we have not truly found our purpose.  It has really made me think about what it is that drives me to do the things I do.......What is my main priority each and every day?  Here is a quote that yesterday's chapter left me pondering over....
(p.76--Day Nine--What Makes God Smile)...."Is pleasing Him your deepest desire?..When you live in light of eternity, your focus changes from, 'How much pleasure am I getting out of life?' to 'How much pleasure is God getting out of my life?'......."

Praying God's Will for my Son and Praying God's Will for my Husband--These books are exactly the same, filled with about 10-15 Scriptures each day that focus on praying over different areas of my son's or my husband's life.  I have started praying these Scriptures over not only Mike and David, but also Julian and Juan David.  I also have made it a habit to have my prayer time in the extra bedroom set up for Juan David, almost like preparing the atmosphere of the room before he even gets here, if he does.  Praying these prayers has freed me from praying my own desires for all of them and gives me the assurance that I am praying God's will over their lives.

The Disciplines of a Godly Woman--This book has captivated me.  I'm so glad to have found a friend that could get me a copy, and to have a dear friend in Colombia who insisted that I read it.  So far I've read the chapters that include the discipline of the Gospel, of Submission, of Prayer, of Worship, of the Mind, and of Contentment.  The one on contentment really stood out to me because it showed just how hard it is to be content when we have little and how much harder it is to be content when we have more.  We are insatiable beings, and the only true contentment we will ever find is in Christ.  This quote really stood out to me, "The fact is that women who love God and love His Word find sources of joy and satisfaction that surpass any the world has to offer.  So it stands to reason that the rampant discontent among evangelical women stems from their shallow knowledge of the Bible".  Too many women have knowledge that they never learn to apply...

The Connected Child--This is one of the most highly recommended books for adoptive families who are raising children who came from hard places.  How insightful to know that the parenting strategies that work for your biological children may be very, very different from what will work with adoptive children, especially older adoptive children that bring a whole painful history into your home with them.  I know if this adoption goes through, Mike and I have many, many challenges ahead of us and need to be as prepared as possible.  Our entire life and lifestyle will change, and we have to be ready to face a watching, judging world who will not understand....I'm so thankful for this book, the author (who spoke at our adoption conference last year), and the many resources she has available for families like ours may one day become.

Esther--Next week our ladies' Fall Bible Study begins, and we are about to embark on a journey through the life and times of Esther.  I have attempted to teach this study before, but God just wouldn't let me.  The fact that He let me now shows that it is His time and that He has already hand-chosen the women that will be part of our group.  I am so, so, so ready to get started!  I miss that weekly fellowship, support, and encouragement, and I love getting to know so many new people every semester.  It's what makes a big church suddenly feel so much smaller.

So, there's what's been stealing my attention lately.  The last time I was so compelled to read was when I was grieving the loss of the kids.  God used all that He taught me in that period of time to prepare me for the life He was going to give us with Julian, for the book He was going to have me write, and for the beginning of a ministry that would inspire many other women to immerse themselves in the Word.  He's obviously preparing me for something now.  I know that through His strength in me, I can meet the challenge.  Thank you for all of your many prayers for me and the way you continue to encourage me.

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