Abundant Life–Gifts of the Good Shepherd, Day 24

A while back, I was following a blog of a woman who was in China picking up her adopted son.  Two days after the Gotcha Day, they traveled to the exact spot where her son was abandoned, on a busy street in front of a convenience store.  I started to cry when I pulled up the picture, because that is similar to my own children’s story.  Discarded, abandoned, left in a random, dangerous place as newborns unable to do anything about it.  But as I continued to read the blog, I noticed that she did not call this spot his “abandonment spot”, she called it his “finding spot”.

I wept long and hard when I read that.  Think about it, that place of being abandoned was really that place of being found.  And we were all orphans before being adopted into the family of God.  I once was lost, but now I am found!  In the same way, our lost spots are really found spots, our sad spots are our spots of comfort, our weak spots are really spots of His strength being revealed.  First Peter 2:9 tells us that we are adopted by God as heirs:  We did not receive a spirit of fear but of Sonship and by that we cry Abba Father—Daddy!  We are chosen not abandoned.  How fitting for there to be an adopted foreigner in the lineage of Jesus!

We, too, had the opportunity to go to our Charlie’s Finding Spot.  It was a very profound moment.  Along a busy highway there was a path of beautiful blooming flowers. I believe it was God’s good providence that his birth parents chose this beautiful spot to relinquish him. For God had a beautiful redemptive plan for this beautiful little boy. And the seeds of faith that are now growing in his heart will grow into a fruitful garden of faith. This I believe with all my heart.

I have written about this before and I am sure I will write about it again, but for now I will give you a picture.  It is a picture of redemption.  It is a picture of reclaiming hope when the world thought you had no hope.  It is a picture of love and calling and joy and answered prayers.  This is our Finding Spot.  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Finding Spot

Today, if you are feeling as if your life is filled with spots of trials, abandonments, and crippling heartache, hold fast to the hope and the truth that these are truly the spots where God finds you and rescues you. Praying for you today.


Abundant Life–Gifts of the Good Shepherd, Day 23

My next few posts will try to give further confirmation that abundant life yields rescue and redemption. The abundant life that our Good Shepherd offers us is one filled with redeeming our moments of sin and shame and heartache. You know those moments—the ones that transform our years in ways we would never have wanted or imagined. And yet He transforms those terrible moments into rescued, restored, and redeemed moments.

The best way I can describe this concept of the abundance of rescue and redemption is to give you small snapshots into the ways we have experienced it ourselves. I have been rescued–from sin, from fear, from status quo. This ongoing process is not always fun, but it always produces a great amount of awe in the One who loves me enough to redeem me.

And my family’s response to His act of rescue on our behalf is to ask Him how we could be used in His plan of rescue for others. Sometimes it is small—a kind word, an encouraging text message, a prayer. Sometimes it is bigger. No matter big or small, when we open ourselves to be used in the rescue of others, we are overwhelmingly and abundantly blessed ourselves.

As many of you know, we adopted two kids from China, both perfect in our sight, but both diagnosed with special needs. Both had meningocel, which is an issue with the spinal cord. Sally had her surgery two weeks after we got her, and she has no problems. Charlie had his surgery in China, we think right after he was born. He had problems.

We were told from the beginning that they did not think he would be able to walk. Three different times the adoption agency called us back to see if we “really” wanted him, as they did not believe he would walk. Wouldn’t we rather have a child who had a better chance of being less complicated and more healthy?

Well, as most parents would answer—of course I would rather have that. Remember what my stronghold had been in the past? Fear, especially concerning my children. But God had made it abundantly clear that he was our son.

I don’t know how to explain that which I didn’t really understand myself—why a family would choose to take on child with medical needs, not to mention inevitable unique emotional needs. I still can’t explain the process of accepting and choosing to take on such an unknown except to say that God had made Himself abundantly clear to us. He loves the orphan. He wants the orphans of the world in families. He is the perfect Father and His God-Father heart breaks when he sees children suffering alone. And the closer our hearts moved toward His heart, the more we needed to respond. We believed that God would give us grace and mercy for whatever He called us to do. We walked in that grace each and every day through the work and the waiting, and we would continue to do each day as we loved our adopted children, as well as our birth children, into being all that God had created them to be.

In the end, God showed up in a huge way. He turned our unbelief into belief, our fear into faith; and miraculously, through divine healing, He turned our crippled boy into a happy, joyful son who laughs, and runs, and plays, and hops, and jumps. We have the privilege of a front row seat to see our Charlie walking and leaping and praising God because Jesus Christ of Nazareth said, “Rise up and walk!”

As we were used in God’s rescue of these two amazing children, God rescued us from so much. Self-centeredness, unbelief, and self-reliance were just a few of the ways we have experienced on-going rescue since we started our adoption journeys.   Through these experiences we have found an added measure of abundant life. I am praying that your own life experiences will highlight God’s divine rescue and that you in turn will be willing to be used in the rescue of others.



My America

Recently I got to see my sweet little Asian daughter in her end of the year preschool program.  She sang and danced and jumped up and down.  I was a proud mom, and just as every mother there felt about her own child, I secretly thought mine was the cutest.

The program had a patriotic theme and at one point I got a little misty-eyed when they sang This Land Is My Land.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me.

575610_10200449249786839_153322640_nI looked at the huge group of adorable children and saw not only precious American-born babies, but also saw some of Sally’s best friends including Sophie, also from China and Lucy, from Ethiopia.  And yet, this land is their land.

Of course they don’t know what that means.  They don’t realize how different their birth land is from the land which is now theirs.  And maybe I don’t even know what that means for me, or at least I don’t take the time to think about it.

This land is my land, this land is your land.  America is ours.  We can say that because we have the freedom to say that.

Do we have any idea what it means that we can freely think, live, decide, determine, be what we want to be?

Do we have any idea what it means that we can love, and worship, and share, and speak truth?

Do we have any idea what it means that there are those who have fought and even died for us to be able to say and sing:  This land is your land, this land Is my land?

As Memorial Day approaches, let’s really remember this time.  Let’s don’t just cook burgers and hot dogs.  Let’s don’t just shoot fireworks or enjoy our time with family.  Let’s really remember.

And let’s thank God for the gift of this land.

God Puts the Lonely in Families

531877_582423648442699_781929154_nWe had a long night.

Bad dreams or bad memories, I don’t know which one, continually bothered Sally throughout the night.

“Mama, don’t leave me!” she cried.

“Honey, I’m right here.  I’m not gonna leave you,” I said as I held her tight.

But I thought to myself, “Better not tell her something I can’t back up.”

I will have to leave her sometimes.  I have to go to the grocery store, to my office, sometimes out of town.  I plan on living a very long life, but only God knows the number of my days.

“I better start pointing her to the One who will never, ever leave her,” I thought as I continued to hold her.

“Sally, Jesus is with you.  He is always with you.  Jesus will never leave you,” I said with conviction, as she settled back down and went back to sleep.

Early the next morning, she was at it again.

“Mama, don’t leave me!” she cried.

I got her up and laid down on the couch with her.  She was happy as can be.

She looked up at me and laughed and then said precious words, so real to her, so true.

“I love family,” she said quietly, a smile curling up around the thumb she was sucking.

“Me, too, Sally,” I said.

God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing.

                                                                                    Psalm 68:6

God puts the lonely in families.

It may be earthly family, church family, or fellowship of the family of God.  If you are lonely, ask Him where that family is in your life.

Sometimes He is all the family you need.  He will never leave you.  He will never forsake you.  He is the perfect Parent, the perfect Comforter, the perfect Shield and Fortress.

Thank Him for family today.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Deuteronomy 31:8

Learning to Trust

cutleryShe did it again.  I thought we were past that.  I had read about this “orphanage behavior” before we got her.  Honestly, out of all the behaviors we could have dealt with, I would have chosen this one.  It is really rather mild.  Still, it bothers me just a bit.

She “saves” food in the roof of her mouth.  She eats a good meal, but the last bite she “saves”.  She can save it for an hour or more.

“Let it go down your throat,” I say as I act it out by swallowing and running my hand down my throat.

She smiles—with her mouth closed, of course, so that last bite won’t fall out—and pretends like she is swallowing.  But she doesn’t.  She just saves it as long as possible.

Why?  I guess “just in case.”  Just in case she has to go without again?  Just in case we don’t keep our promise to take care of her every need—and even most of her wants?

She doesn’t do this very often anymore.  She is learning to trust us completely.  But every once in a while she forgets, or rather doubts, that we are trustworthy.

I guess when I think about it, I do the same thing.  Sometimes I have “orphanage behavior.”  After all, scripture tells me I was an orphan, too, before I became apart of the family of God.  And even though I now am securely at home with the Father, I still forget, or rather doubt, that He is truly trustworthy.  I still want to hang on to things, just in case.  I may pretend that I trust Him, but I don’t really, at least with certain things.  So, He gently reminds me to “Let it go.  Just let it go.”

So, that’s what I am going to do today.  I am going to just trust my Father.