Saturday, May 25, 2013

Seeing Clearly

At times, there are hindrances that keep us from seeing clearly.  With the weather it might be a foggy, overcast, or stormy day.  It’s also difficult to see properly when the electricity goes off or bulbs burn out.  I’ve even been caught in a dust storm where it was difficult to see just a few feet in front of you.  I remember going to Carlsbad Caverns as a child.  As we reached the bottom of the caverns, the guide turned out the lights.  There was definitely no chance of seeing clearly for those few seconds.  When the storms pass, electricity is restored, bulbs are replaced, the sun comes out, and the lights are turned on, it is possible to see clearly again.
Eyes and sight are precious gifts.  Sometimes it takes small irritations or inconveniences to remind us of how important they are.  There are times when vision can be distorted because an object gets in your eye and causes it to tear up.  Allergies or dryness can definitely cause eyes to seem like they have seen better days.  Other times our vision can be impaired because of being nearsighted or farsighted.  In recent days, Larry has realized how much cataracts can distort your vision and what a huge difference it makes when they are removed and new lenses are inserted.  Each day it seems like there is something else he comments on that he can now see more clearly and vividly.  With great eye doctors to check our eyes and prescribe drops, contacts, glasses, and doctors and medical teams to insert new lenses, sight can improve.
It’s also good to be intentional about checking our spiritual eye sight as well.  In the storms and mishaps of life, it’s important to keep our eyes on Jesus.  Especially when it seems the darkest, we need to constantly be looking for his light to guide us.  Just as doctors help with our physical vision, God has given us Jesus, who was the sacrifice for our sins, as our example to point us to the Father; His Word to guide, convict, and encourage us; and His Spirit to be with us so that we can see more clearly who He is.  And he also provides family, friends, preachers, teachers, and sometimes even strangers to encourage and challenge us along the way.  Sometimes we may need a different prescription for our spiritual glasses.  Other times, God may need us to cut out something completely so he can give us something better.  Then, hopefully, we can begin to see God, ourselves, and others the way God wants us to.
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
I Corinthians 13:12 (The Message)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lessons in 3-D

For the past several months, my morning routine has been to put in my contacts and immediately check my phone to see if Abby or Scott had sent an update, pictures or both.  Because of the time difference, our messages usually arrived during the night.  I eagerly checked for them first thing every single day.  Last Saturday morning, I got up, put in my contacts, reached for the phone, and realized that the people I was checking on were asleep in our home!  Being a creature of habit, I performed the same routine Sunday morning.  When I realized I had done it again, it was a sweet reminder of God’s faithfulness, love, and provision during these days.
These next few weeks will be important ones as Mary continues to learn to depend on Abby and Scott for her needs.  With the 13 hour time difference, new foods/formula, and new faces, it will be a lot of new in a short amount of time.  She must surely miss her 20+ closest friends at the orphanage, too.  We are still so grateful that Abby could be with Mary these past 3 ½ months to help begin the bonding process.  It has been amazing to see how much she has already bonded with Scott, also.
Because of the bonding process, we are not holding, reaching out for, hugging, kissing, bathing, dressing, feeding, or changing Mary right now.  Allowing Scott and Abby to be her care givers is the best way we can love and encourage her during these days.  That will make the time when we can do these things extra sweet.  It’s been fun to discover ways that we can express our love by watching her play, listening when she “speaks”, clapping with her, waving when she goes to another room, smiling, speaking words of love and even sharing my walker to pull up on and play with.  She crawled after Larry through two rooms on Tuesday.  Without ever being around stairs, Mary has crawled to the top of our stairs, with her father close behind.  What a joy these days continue to be.
This week I’ve been reminded of life lessons in 3-D.  First, I know God would be pleased if my first thoughts each day were to eagerly check in with him to see not only what had happened during the night, but what was on His agenda for today.  And He wouldn’t even mind if my contacts were in yet.  I’ve also thought about God being my Father.  Just like Mary is learning to depend on Scott and Abby, I need to daily choose to trust and depend on God, knowing He will provide what is best for me.  Sometimes it’s good to stay close to home until we are ready and prepared for what we will face in the big world.  And it’s always good to know that our Father is close by.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 36:7
Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me. 
Psalm 40:11
You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. 
Psalm 86:5
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—
 Psalm 103:17
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. 
Psalm 143:8
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
I John 3:1a

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Blessed Weekend

On Friday, May 10th, after much waiting, the day finally arrived; it was time to go to the airport!  The house had been somewhat child proofed, supplies rounded up, Teresa Lusk had set up a 27 hour prayer chain for their traveling, the car seat was in the car, the high chair seat attached to the chair, and beds were ready for rest.    After more than 24 hours of traveling, Mary, Abby, and Scott arrived in Houston!  It is so good to have all three of them home!  For this we have prayed and God has answered “Yes”!  Since they are dealing with a 13 hour difference in time zones, this will be a week of adjustment to body clocks and hopefully much rest and relaxation.  Mary started off this morning with lots of “talking”, laughing, exploring, and crawling at lightning speed.  What fun!  Now it’s time for her nap.

Abby's parents were there to greet them, too.

On Sunday morning, we will go to our granddaughter Ryen’s Baby Dedication.  Chad and Lori are participating in a service at their church where they will express that they are making a commitment to raise Ryen in a home that loves, serves, and obeys the Lord.  We’ll also get to see David which is always a very good thing.
Then Sunday afternoon we will get to spend time with Brad and Melinda.  This mom has a full, content, and happy heart.  It’s pretty special that this Mother’s Day, I will be able to be with each person in our family.  God is good all the time and continues to bless me more than I could ever ask or imagine. 
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Officially Adopted

For over a year now, many of you have joined with Scott and Abby in praying that they would be able to adopt a little boy or girl.  On October 3rd, Scott’s birthday, God began revealing some of the details to the answers of those prayers with a phone call that said they had been matched with a little girl not quite two months old.  Immediately, there were more forms to complete, airline tickets to purchase, and things to send to Mary.  Scott was in England beginning work on his PhD while Abby was visiting in Houston.  She flew to meet him to sign papers so they could continue the process and hopefully hurry the date when they could meet their daughter.  When the paperwork was accepted Abby and Scott flew to Taiwan to meet Mary for the first time and appear before the judge.  As their two week visit was coming to an end, they made the decision for Abby to stay with Mary until the adoption was complete.  She would stay at the orphanage to take care of Mary and to help out with the other babies.  Even though it has been a long and sometimes difficult three months helping take care of so many children, it has been a blessing for Abby to have the time to bond with Mary and to be there for hugs, comfort, and reassurance.  She also experienced Mary cutting her first tooth, sitting up, crawling, and pulling up.  Because Abby stayed, Mary has also been able to see Scott and hear his voice with the use of technology.  During these days, we have continued to pray and believe, and to send boxes with clothes, supplies, and food.  

Last week the local Taiwanese court issued Mary’s final adoption decree.  The courts officially declared what Abby and Scott have believed in their hearts since October; Mary Louise is their daughter.  There continues to be great rejoicing over the long awaited approval and gratefulness for God’s presence, faithfulness, and provision.  And this week I will be praying for them as they say goodbye, express their gratitude, and begin their journey as a family of three.  By this time next week, they should have safely arrived in Houston!

During these days, I have thought so many times about the blessing, excitement, and joy of Scott and Abby choosing Mary to be their daughter.   It has helped me picture in a new way how much God loves to add new children to his family.  And all those who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior have been chosen and adopted by God!  We are sons and daughters of the King and heirs with his son, Jesus!  

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 
I Samuel 1:27
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 
Romans 8:15
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
Galations 4:4-7
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 
I John 3:1