Browsing "Our Story"
Dec 3, 2012 - Our Story    No Comments

30 days

Last month, our church hosted a Youth Conference, entitled “Who Do You Think You Are?”Heidi and I had the privilege of being on the planning committee. The three-day event focused on showing teens their true identity in Christ, compared to what they are consistently bombarded with on a daily basis from the media. It featured two key speakers and over 100 volunteers that helped throughout the weekend. Each night included worship music and small group sessions, with a Saturday evening that included a bonfire, basketball tournament, movie, and lots more. Sunday evening featured a family-night worship experience for parents and children of all ages.

In the planning stages of the youth conference I was looking for unique ideas that could be shared during the Sunday evening family service that would be enjoyed by people of all ages, when I stumbled on a great idea on YouTube called “splat art”. Splat art is a performance art that uses brushes or a performer’s hands to paint a picture on a canvas in a 5-10 minute time frame, usually accompanied by music or narration. I saw this done previously and it was absolutely breathtaking. I thought, what a great idea, this is perfect! After I looked at several examples I found one that really stuck out to me and I suggested to the committee the following week that we include it. When asked, “who we could get to do the performance?”, I said nervously “me”. I had thought to myself prior to the meeting, I think I can do this. I had prayed about it previously and felt a reassurance that I should do this, so I decided that, with enough time to practice, I might just be able to pull this off.

Excitedly I went out to the store the very next day and purchased several small canvases to practice on a a few tubes of paint. The first step in the performance would be to memorize the beginning script of 30 words that are narrated to describe the many beautiful aspects of our Savior. I sat in the parking lot of a UPS store on the day we needed to renew our fingerprints for USCIS and ran through each of the words, sketching them out in order on a sheet of paper as I waited for Heidi to meet me on her way home from work. As we ate dinner that evening I sketched them out on a napkin and got about 80% of them correct. I practiced each day over the next week writing the words as I read the script until I had them memorized. The next part would prove to be the most rewarding, while most challenging part of the process. For the splat art performance, after writing the 30 words in the shape of Jesus face, I would need to use only my hands and 3 colors (orange, yellow, & white) to paint a portrait of Jesus that would measure 4 foot x 6 foot. During the service, I would have approximately 8 to 10 minutes to complete the painting, including the 30 words.

The first evening I painted my test canvases black and grabbed a stick of white chalk to write down the words. As I waited for the black paint to dry, I said a small prayer that God would allow me to be patient in learning this painting—realizing that it wouldn’t be an overnight process. I prayed that He would allow others to see His glory through me and that He would reveal Himself to me over the next 30 days. I poured out some paint on a plastic plate and begin to paint, looking at the screen shot that I had from the YouTube video I previously found. I got a majority of the words correct, but had difficulty in getting the painting portion down.

First painting of Jesus

I would go downstairs the following evening to try again. Once again beginning with a prayer and using the time as a true worship experience. I played several praise & worship songs from my iPod and used the time to truly focus on not just painting, but the subject I was trying to glorify.

Second painting of Jesus

Third painting of Jesus

I found that as I kept practicing each day, it was a different experience every time. Each day was led with prayer and was an opportunity for me to spend time during my day just focusing on what Jesus really meant to me.

Sixth day of painting

After several days of painting on smaller canvases, I realized that if I was going to learn this properly, I would need to move to a larger full-sized canvas and start working on the timing of narration and the music. I took a trip to Home Depot to pick up a canvas drop-cloth, some Gesso, and some staples and knew just where I could setup a make-shift studio. I spent the evening picking out songs and settled on a song that our youth often sing during the Wednesday night worship service entitled “Inside Out” by Hillsong. I found a live version on YouTube that I thought would be perfect for the performance as it allowed me a little extra time to complete the painting than the original song used in the original splat art performance I had found.

The next morning I went downstairs before work and pulled up on my iPod the original performance I had found on YouTube. I began to write the words in unison with he narration and switched over to the Hillsong video for the painting portion. That morning was the most impactful yet. Although I wasn’t overjoyed with how the painting turned out, I was pleased that I had completed my first full-size painting of Jesus.

First full-size painting of Jesus

I had now moved on from smaller canvases, so each evening when I came home from work I would need to paint over that mornings painting to make room for a new one. The first time I did this I felt like I was a terrible person. How could I have just painted the face of Jesus? The next morning I woke up early to try again.

Second full-size painting of Jesus

Third full-size painting of Jesus

Fourth full-size painting of Jesus

By the fourth day, I was beginning to feel comfortable with the medium, but quickly realizing that it would be impossible for me to match the speed of the narration on the YouTube video. Each morning’s prayer and painting revealed a face of Jesus to me that was just perfect. It was the perfect way to start my day and allowed me to begin my mornings focused on Christ. What a rewarding experience and surreal chance to worship God each morning.

Final painting before performance

In the days leading up to the conference, I built a custom canvas that was stretched on a frame with a stand that could support it on stage. Focused on getting the narration and song timing down, and spent lots of mornings stepping back from a canvas with chills as the song and entire experience of seeing Jesus’ face come to life, to became a truly moving experience.

The night of the performance I was a complete nervous wreck. I prayed with Heidi before leaving for the church that God would speak through me that evening and that His name would be gloried through it. I hoped that He would use this opportunity to speak to those in the crowd that were seeking Him. To those who have accepted Christ into the hearts previously, I hoped that it would provide them an opportunity—as it did me each morning—to worship Jesus like never before. Its odd to explain, as I know that it’s just a painting and it’s not actually Jesus standing before me, but I felt like I was in his presence many days and I hoped that others would share in that experience.

I sat on the front row, nervous, palms sweating and saying one last prayer that Jesus would guide me through this painting just as he had each day leading up the conference. Amazingly, as the moment drew close I felt a peace come over me and a reassurance that “He’s got this one, just like He had the last one”. The lighting dimmed, the crowd silenced, and I rose to my feet to walk towards the canvas.

 

Wow! I walked off stage with the largest smile on my face and a sense of accomplishment. I heard the applause as I stood in a dark hallway behind stage and said a quick prayer to thank God for leading me through the performance. I had managed to make it all the way through without messing any of the words up in the narration and smearing any paint where it shouldn’t be.

Click below to see the video from that evening

Who Do You Think You Are? Splat Art Performance

I learned in the 30 days leading up to the performance to trust in God and be patient with His plan. Something He has been working on teaching me for the last several years through our journey. I have received such positive feedback from those who viewed the performance that evening and look forward to finding other ways to offer creative worship to our church for special services. I also found a strengthened relationship with Him through my morning worship time and a renewed passion to take time to each day to focus on worshiping the God who has blessed me beyond belief in my life.

Thanks goes out to those on the committee who trusted and encouraged me through the process of learning this painting, to my wife who helped encourage me each day and provide me creative advice, to those who helped make this possible through transporting my canvas, video projecting  my performance, and providing amazing voice over narration. What an awesome experience to take part in and I pray for those who may have been encouraged to try new things, and to trust in the Lord.

 

 

 

Nov 22, 2012 - Our Story    No Comments

Blessed

As we celebrate Thanksgiving today, I took a few moments to reflect on the many blessings that God has bestowed on Heidi and me during the two years, one-week, and four days that we have been waiting to bring our little one(s) home. As another holiday passes (one that I told myself last year would be completely different this year), it would be easy to hang my head in self-pity and lose focus of the true meaning of this day. However, I stand strong today in my faith knowing that God has us exactly where he wants us and is working this very moment to move mountains here and in Ethiopia to secure our children’s future.

This past Thursday we drove to Hershey, PA to attend a one night rally by television and radio evangelist David Jeremiah, entitled “God Loves You”. It was a packed Giant Center, with over 8,100 in attendance to take part in an amazing night of praise & worship and be blessed to hear an inspiring message by the man that makes so many of my morning commutes a truly moving experience. I truly believe that God has the ability to speak to you through others, and that night was like so many morning commutes—exactly what my heart needed to hear. Through the message Dr. Jeremiah referred to many biblical truths about God’s amazing love, but his sole focus remained on the chastening of God’s children, and how God uses difficult situations in one’s life  to teach us, protect us, and provide for us.

I have studied this message about our Father’s discipline, and even blogged about it before, so it was a great refresher to hear that even know it is easy to feel alone and scorned by punishment when difficult things happen in our life or prayers seem to go unanswered, you can be reassured that God is working in your life and has a greater purpose than what you could ever imagine. When you look at the example of Job, a man that was after God’s own heart, and how he was allowed to endure great suffering on multiple levels, it is important to realize this aspect of his story. Each of these things that happened to Job were allowed to come through God’s hands. I want to take a look at Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future“. From this verse, I find great peace in knowing that each and every step of our journey to our children must first go through Christ’s hands.What a sense of control and amazing calm that places over my restless soul.

Over the past year God has provided us so many blessings that, if not careful, can be overshadowed by our hearts cry to be with our children. He has allowed us to find an amazing church family that has welcomed us in with open arms. They pray for and encourage us daily to stay faithful and patient in our waiting and to trust in the Lord with all our hearts, minds, and soul. We have been working for several months with the youth group at Bethany and have become involved in several small groups that have given us an opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and strengthen our relationship in Christ.

We have been and continue to be blessed by our amazing family and friends who have rejoiced and cried along side of us, each and every step of the process. Last Christmas, Heidi’s mom surprised us with a wonderful puzzle fundraiser that was supported by so many and to date has seen an overwhelming response with 3/4 of the pieces being sold. Other members of our friends & family have made countless sacrifices through fundraisers including raffling event tickets and selling homemade goods on our behalf as others have provided us countless encouraging cards and gifts to support us. Each of these have made us feel so incredibly blessed and have always come at the exact timing that our spirits needed a boost. Most of all, our family and friends have prayed for us.  We can literally feel the prayers of our loved ones holding us up; what an amazing feeling it is to know that our children are loved and prayed for by so many!

We have taken this past year to renew our focus on our marriage and our future roles as parents and have both made a concerted effort to always look for ways to strengthen each other and our families. I am thankful for the this time that God has allowed us to focus on each other and how we can bond together as a family to raise our children in a Christ centered home. I am especially thankful for the many things that He has placed in our path to help learn about these roles. I recently joined a Friday morning Men’s group that I have found to be incredibly rewarding in learning from other men how to be the best I can, and Heidi has found many similar opportunities as well.

Last spring, we took part in a 13-week financial program from author Dave Ramsey, which radically changed the way that we approach our spending habits and long-term goals. It was a eye-opening look at how the financial world operates and how to approach a monthly-budget and long-term investment goals. We are grateful that the Lord spoke to us about being good stewards with our money.

This year also allowed us the blessing of growing stronger with other adoptive parents in our agency. We had the privileged opportunity to welcome two children home from Ethiopia and take a few moments to meet each of their parents. It was an experience that left both Heidi and I forever changed. There are so many amazing families in our AGCI network, and  we look forward to rejoicing with many more as the years pass. As Thanksgiving approaches, we are currently number 11 on the infant girls list, and still maintaining our number 1 position on the siblings list. I pray each day that our time is approaching soon to when we too will be making an airport arrival greeted by rejoicing family & friends.

It is easy to see Dr. Jeremiah’s message God Loves You: He Always Has—He Always Will if I take a moment to reflect on the many opportunities that Christ has passed through His hands this year that have allowed me to grow since last Thanksgiving. I truly feel that God continues to prepare Heidi and I in our roles as spouses and future parents and provides new blessings each and every day. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for all 364 days since last Thanksgiving, the good, the bad, the easy, and the hard. Each of them have shaped us into who we are and each of them has been provided from above. God Bless You and Happy Thanksgiving.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations.” – Psalm 100:4-5

 

 

Sep 9, 2012 - Our Story    1 Comment

Rough Seas

On August 3, 1492, three ships set sail from Port Palos in Spain called the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria, on a journey to find a western sea route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia. As any good sailor would have done, I’m sure that the captain, Christopher Columbus, planned carefully for his voyage. He would have consulted his fellow sailors, studied the trade winds and latest hand drawn maps, and he would have, no doubt, made sure that he had enough provisions to sustain the trip. More than likely, there were stories of others who had tried such an expedition and fallen off the edge of the Earth or been gobbled up by a sea monster, but Columbus sailed his ships out of the harbor bravely and into the unknown with a passion to find his treasure.

On Tuesday September 11, we will officially cross the mark of 22-months on the official waiting list for our adoption. I think of the time period leading up to us placing the first packet of forms in the mail and the preparation, discussions, and praying that took place. The planning for a journey into the unknown, with a destination in mind, but no real maps or navigational points on how to get there. We talked with family, friends, and other adoptive parents who provided us with advice, strengthened us in faith, and committed themselves to joining us on our journey to adopt. In faith, Heidi and I placed our boat into the water on July 6, 2010, pointed toward the children that God has planned for our family, and began paddling out of the safety of our harbor.

Recently, we both heard a sermon from the book of Mark 4:35–41 which describes a time when Jesus finished preaching to the crowds for the day and asked his disciples to sail him to the other side of the sea. Tired from the heat of the day, Jesus rested on some cloths at the front of the boat as the disciples lead the boat of the harbor and into the sea.

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.”Mark 4:35–36.

Somewhere near the middle of the journey, the weather changed and the sea began to get very rough with large swells and strong winds. As the boat was tossed around in the waves, a number of the disciples became nervous and cried out to Jesus, “Wake up!” they inquired, “Don’t you care if we drown?” When I think of this visual I imagine the look on their faces and the feelings of sheer panic in their hearts. These guys were fisherman, so they must have known a bad storm when they saw one. What a strange juxtaposition to the sleeping Savior, who is not shaken by any storm and sleeps calmly at the bow of the ship.

I think of the journey that Heidi and I have taken and the numerous times that our boat began to get tossed in the wind and the waves. In April of 2011, the Ethiopian courts began to slow significantly; the process slowed to a crawl, and the initial plans of an 8-9 month journey began to look more like 24–36 months. We cried out to Jesus, “Wake Up!” followed by, “Don’t you want us to have children?” We had been able to move pass the infertility stage of our journey; we were sailing smoothly towards our destination; and suddenly the skies turned grey and our navigation was knocked off course.

Going back to the disciples on the stormy sea, their panic and shouts eventually woke Jesus from his rest, and he proceeded to stand up at the front of the boat. Jesus stretched out his arms over the wind and the waves and calmed them at once. He inquired to the disciples around him, “Why are you so afraid? Have you no faith?

“39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:35-41

When faced with stormy times in one’s life, it is easy to begin to panic and cry out. It is difficult to step back and relinquish control. I find it is human nature to keep paddling furiously in the direction you see best fit until you become tired and lost, and can paddle no more. I couldn’t tell you the time or date, but I know there was a time when I just handed over the wheel to Jesus. (Oh, boy I just sounded like Carrie Underwood). Trying to navigate the seas became more than I could control and I began to grow tired and feel lost. In the past several months I have felt the seas calm and the wind die down and our ship has continued its course. It is with continued faith that we trust that we are on the correct path, that our final destination is just across the sea, and that our Captain will guide us there in perfect timing and will deliver us safely through any storms or winds that arise.

 “Be still, and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10

Christopher Columbus is a perfect example of when things don’t always go as planned, but the final destination is better than you could ever imagined. On October 12, 1492 as Columbus continued his voyage, land was spotted from the mast of the ship and it appeared that he was nearing the end of his journey. He would soon find out that his navigation had been slightly off course. He  discovered what is known today as the Caribbean Islands, and would later go on to sail along Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and eventually North America. In March of 1493, Columbus would receive the highest honors of the Spanish courts, noted as the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings. If interviewed, I’m certain that Columbus would have talked about the faithful journey that he set off for in August and the amazing discoveries that he found in October were all worth the stormy seas that he had to sail through to get there.

Driving home from work on Friday evening, I heard a song that I have heard a 100 times, but found new meaning in this particular evening. It is written by country singer, Garth Brooks, and is entitled The River. It was the inspiration for this blog post.

Chorus
And I will sail my vessel,
till the river runs dry.
Like a bird apon the wind,
these waters are my sky.
I’ll never reach my destination
If I never try,
So I will sail my vessel,
till the river runs dry!

It is important to keep in mind that even the rough seas are navigated by God. Were not stuck in no-where land, tossed about like a lost ship, but sailing calmly through stormy seas with a plan and a purpose to reach our destination. The song finishes with the last verse:

There is bound to be rough waters,
and I know I’ll take some falls,
with the good lord as my captin,
I can make it through them all!

In 22 months of waiting, although we are tired and weary from the months at sea, we keep faith in our journey with God as our Captain. We will make it to the day when we see our little blessing(s) face(s). In our arms, held tight, our journey will all make sense. The purpose will be revealed.

If you are currently feeling lost or swept away by the storms, I invite you to allow Jesus to calm those storms in your life. Hand over control and you’ll be amazed at the calmness and sense of control that will come back into your life.

Aug 24, 2012 - Our Story, Running    1 Comment

Weight-Lifting

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to cheer on our amazing friend, Kate, as she ran in a 10K at the Lehigh Valley Zoo. The course was on a terrain filled with many hills and valleys, and it finished inside the zoo. As the race started, each runner stood in anticipation of the starting whistle, shaking off last minute jitters and plotting out the course ahead. The gun sounded and they were off, climbing the first of many hills that lie ahead.

A few minutes after the starting corral had cleared, we made our way down to an area that was several feet from the finish line, where we could cheer on Kate and the other runners. As the others runners passed by we noticed several interesting characters run by, but one guy  stuck out to me in particular. He was wearing something that seemed to me much crazier than any other outfit I have seen during a race. After a few seconds of bewilderment, I determined that he was wearing a weighted running vest!!! I thought to myself, who in their right-mind would purposely strap additional weight to their body and then attack a course with so many hills and valleys? Was he out to prove a point? Was he trying to test his endurance? Was he just plain crazy? As the week progressed he remained in the back of my mind as I tried to figure out his motivation.

This week will make week 10 of being in the #1 position on the sibling list for our adoption, totaling 22 months of waiting all together….needless to say I am beginning to show fatigue. While July and August have been pretty strong months for me, I have also been particularly busy almost every day of the week.  I have had little time to focus on much else beside the task at hand for any particular day. While it is sometimes overwhelming to be so busy, I find it to be a blessing in my life right now to keep my mind off our waiting. The times when I have come up for air or been drifting on to sleep it sinks in just how very much I miss our children, and how I grieve the days that I don’t get to spend with them. I haven’t even met them, and I love them so very much.

This morning as I was working my way through my devotional, I thought back to that guy with the weighted-vest. I came across Matthew 11:28–30

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

I wonder how many times in our life we allow things to weigh us down? We may or may not choose to add additional weights, but often we don’t take the time to remove the ones that accumulate in our daily lives. These weights don’t necessarily mean that our lives our weighted down with sins, but sometimes the burden of forgiveness, anxiety, or insecurity can lessen our endurance and make us weary. Steven Furtick’s study of Hebrew’s 12 begins by looking at Hebrews 12:1

1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us.

Furtick talks to the beginning part of this verse that refers to the “large cloud of witnesses” and sheds an interesting perspective on this verse. The author of Hebrews is not referring to those onlookers who are watching us, but instead he is speaking of those people who have come before us and lead by example such as Abraham, Moses, Isaac, and the list goes on. Furtick goes on to address the second half of this verse saying, “we need to cut weight, or shed those things in our lives that our keeping us from what God has called us to do.” If we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and look at the examples that He has placed before us, we will gain endurance to get through difficult situations in our lives.

As I finished my devotional this morning, I had a very powerful few minutes of prayer where I asked God to remove the things that burden my heart. In looking at Matthew 11:28, it speaks of the word “yoke“. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, a yoke is wooden beam that is placed between two oxen or cattle that helps them work together to share the load of whatever their pulling behind them. Typically there is a dominant, or lead oxen that allows the other one to follow the leader. Jesus is saying here that no matter what weight it is were pulling around behind us, what difficult situation were going through, he will walk beside us, better yet, he will take the load and let us follow in his steps.

Often I am guilty of allowing these weights in my life. Most recently I have carried the burden of anxiety and frustration as each day passes without a referral call. Distracted by my busy schedule, I have failed to make adequate time to shed these weights from my life, and, this week I ran low on endurance and began to grow weary. Overtime it becomes overwhelming and makes me want to throw my hands up and cry to Jesus to remove these weights. I lean on verses like Isaiah 40:28-29 when this happens.

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. 29 He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless.

We have a God who is willing to carry our burdens, and who will never grow weary or tired. In the weeks to months that lie ahead before we receive our referral, I will continue to pray that God doesn’t allow these weights to creep back into my life. That he gives me strength to endure, and doesn’t let my heart grow weary. To trust in His timing, is to believe that we haven’t received our referral yet in accordance to his will and that he is working on securing our children’s perfect opportunity to be placed into our lives. I pray that you would take a few minutes to listen to this video posted below and allow God to remove the weights from your life. If you are like that crazy runner, who chooses to accept these weights, or you are like so many who accumulate them over time, that you would lean on the one who never grows weary.  I pray that  you would ask for endurance to run the race, and when adversity comes that you would look to the ones that have come before and completed the race before you. Amen.

Jul 14, 2012 - Our Story    2 Comments

Under Construction

Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2

Standing tall at 1,454 feet the Empire State Building in New York took: 7,000,000 man hours to construct, a work-force of nearly 3,400 people, and  57,000 tons of steel to make it into the magnificent structure that stands today. I found an interesting picture above, that shows where everything started—on the ground floor.

It is truly amazing to see the task that can be completed with the help of so many. When you consider that there are roughly 8,750 hours in 1 year, it would have taken 1 man—working 7,000,000 man hours—nearly 800 years to complete the structure without the other 3,399 workers. I think about this task in comparison to the near 147 million orphans that are in the world, and the ginormous task that has been called from God to care for the widows and orphans of this world.

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27

One person solving the orphan crisis seems as impossible as 1 man building the Empire State Building alone, but the word impossible is not in God’s dictionary. As we began our adoption journey, like so many, the financial demands of an adoption certainly seemed impossible at the time. We took a step of faith, and, with Christ’s provisions, we stood back in amazement and watched in gratitude  the hundreds of family and friends that participated in various fundraisers, made anonymous donations, and rallied to our support. With each major financial hurdle, God provided a way for our needs to be met. Blessed to be on the top of the siblings list, we move each day closer to our referral call and our next financial hurdle, faithfully trusting that He will provide when the timing is perfect.  Our Lord has sheltered us in other areas of our lives by providing us hope and comfort on the nights that we cried each other to sleep, when we felt like the ability to wait on perfect timing seemed impossible and unattainable. During those times, God would always send a symbol of encouragement through a kind message, a card in the mail, or a blanket of prayer from our congregation. It almost seems surreal at times the level of detail that God provides and the ability to lift us out of the ashes of our darkest moments, when our prayers are sincere and faith filled.

Many people have blessed us, too many to count, and we will never be able to express the gratitude that we have for the support from family, friends, and even complete strangers. To know that your child is already prayed for, cared for, and adored before they are even held in your arms is an amazing feeling that can not be put into words. Last week we were surprised while on vacation at the shore by our family. They wrote and recited a poem, made us #1 Mommy & Daddy hats, and cut-outs of #1′s to celebrate our recent movement on the siblings list. Standing on the beach in total shock, we were overwhelmed by the feelings of  love and encouragement how everyone is embracing our adoption. Much like the Empire State Building that today stands tall, it is easy to sometimes overlook the workers who helped construct such an amazing architectural structure. Each bolt that was welded into place, may have seemed a medial task at the time, but was so very important to the success of its construction.  We are so blessed to have so many people “working” with us, supporting us, and loving us as we wait for that phone to ring!

 

More important than the workers and materials that help construct the building is the foundation that it is built upon. A perfect example of this is found in the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Although the Leaning Tower of Pisa was smaller in comparison to the Empire State Building (only 183 ft), for its time it was equally a great accomplishment. Taking over 177 years to construct from 1178, its foundation was laid in weak unstable soil which later proved to be its detriment and caused the tower to sink and lean 12 ft. out of vertical alignment. Overtime the tower has required deconstruction, counterweights, and was eventually closed to the public. This relates  to the parable of the two men who built there homes on different soils, we can see how important a good foundation is to such a project.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.Matthew 7:24–27

We have received so many words of encouragement over the past 20+ months, such as the recent blog post by our friend Jennie, in which she mentioned us being an inspiration to others. We feel so humbled by the prayers and it makes us feel so blessed to see that others view us as a  strong and inspiring couple. It is only through Christ’s strength and our strong foundation in his word that we find the ability to approach each day with renewed perseverance. An adoption journey is one filled with many emotions, and I know that sometimes we offer a distorted view to others, who never see us on the days where we are at lost for words, moments of weakness where its hard to maintain faith, and feelings of frustration at the red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy. However,through Jesus, the steady rock of our salvation, we are able to find renewed hope and purpose for our journey and realize that we have taken this path for a reason. We are able to boldly proclaim the Lord as our stronghold.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.Psalms 18:2

 

 

More important than the workers, and the foundation, is the architect. The one who has the plans for the building and instructs each of the workers on how to construct the perfect building. Without the architect, a building would be a pile of materials and thousands of people standing around without a purpose. During the pain of our infertility, it was at times difficult to see how such suffering would ever serve a purpose or lead to an area of great strength and fulfillment in our lives. Each step that we have taken in our adoption, which at times has felt blind in faith, has revealed itself in God’s amazing plans for our family. He continues to reveal to us his purpose and provide us encouragement to live accordingly to his will. In our human immaturity it is easy to get frustrated or prideful when His plans don’t include our plans. It is in humility that faith is grown to trust that all good and perfect things come through his hands and are meant to prosper you in life.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11

Once the foundation is chosen on a steady surface, the workers team together to complete the task at hand, and the architect provides the direction and careful detail to the building, construction will finally be completed. For the Empire State Building, construction lasted a little over a year and half and finished ahead of schedule. Completed in 1972, the Empire State Building provides a iconic symbol in the night sky and employs over thousands of workers each day, making it the second largest office complex next to the Pentagon. Although its construction was completed in 1972 it requires daily maintenance to ensure smooth operation.  Synonymous to our adoption, we look forward to introducing our child(ren) into our amazing group of family and friends who will be a valuable part of our their everyday life in building their faith and relationships. We look forward to accepting our future referral and completing our first of many adoptions as we work to build a family that might provide a symbolic example of making what seems impossible, possible, through the help of our family, friends, & almighty savior Jesus Christ.

For nothing is impossible with God. – Luke 1:37

 

Jun 30, 2012 - Our Story    1 Comment

This is Only a Test

We go through life knowing so little about the “why, when, and what” of things that happen in our lives, that it becomes human nature to be discouraged or feel lost when we enter tragedy. Wouldn’t it be great if when affliction entered our life we would hear from above “Relax, this is a test of your emergency faith system, it is only a test. If this were an actual emergency it would be followed by my instruction“. All too many times we plead out for understanding and try to find all sorts of ways to escape the situation, angry or frustrated as to why something happened, we demand an explanation. “Why did this happen to me?

I have heard so many verses of faith this week along with other sermons that speak to going through trials and suffering in your life. The first that speaks to my heart is from Romans 5:3-4 “ And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.” This verse speaks closely to Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be joy revealed in us.” To boil down the last two weeks of what God has spoke into my heart. If you have faith, that ALL good and perfect things come from above, that is all things come through Christ hands…then you must also find hope in your situation—no matter what it is—that this thing your going through is from Christ.

I’ve spoke to this on our blog before, that God is your heavenly Father, and that sometimes the Lord chastises us to teach us something, to reveal something greater in our lives, for which our current human understanding can’t compute. He is treating us as a Father, he disciplines us out of love.  Steven Furtick tweeted earlier this week “God sometimes employs human disappointment to shape a void He intends to fill with HIMSELF.” I have also heard many talks lately about how God allows troubles in our lives so we can draw nearer to him and find him. I have heard the saying many times “God, drove me to my knees” Hebrews 12:6-8 says “for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives.  Endure [suffering] as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline?  But if you are without discipline-which all receive-then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” I heard a talk on prayer yesterday that said “if you haven’t gone through suffering” then you need to check your positioning with Christ. No where in the Bible does it state that our lives will be peachy-keen. It does state that God will walk with us through those trials. I have heard many say that they have “never felt closer to God” than these moments in their lives. He doesn’t allow bad things in our lives to discourage us, beat us down, and destroy us. He allows suffering to draw us close, so that we would find sufficient Grace in him, and to take us to a better place in our lives. I have spent 19+ months stumbling along the way to figure this out, but it is becoming clearer to me.

I smile this morning from ear to ear, because we found out last evening that we are #1 on the siblings list and #19 on the girls list. We have spent 19+ months enduring and suffering some of the hardest days of our lives. This doesn’t count the years of infertility treatments that prefaced our adoption and the months building up to getting on the official list. I can not declare that our journey is over, only God knows that in his perfect timing. What I can declare is that I feel in a much better place in my life because of the suffering I have endured. I have never felt closer to our Father, and I have drawn closer to him through this. It’s one of those things you see in the Bible like that takes sometimes to understand… 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” This verse is amazing.  I truly feel I wouldn’t change a step of the path that we have taken for this very reason above. Thank you to so many that have continued to pray for us and comfort us along the way. It has truly meant the world to know that we have so many on our side, and its been truly amazing to see the Power of Christ work over the last 3 years in his perfect timing.

May 19, 2012 - Our Story    1 Comment

Just Around the Bend

Earlier this week, on my drive into work I was pleased to find out that they would be rebroadcasting one of the most powerful messages that I had ever heard from one of my favorite pastors David Jeremiah. At the time of the original broadcast he had recently returned to the pulpit after battling Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) for over a year to share a sermon entitled “A Bend in the Road“.

It forced me, just as it did a year ago, to revisit how I look at the moments in our lives when we think we’ve reached the end of our rope, tied a knot, and are just hanging on. The sermon was based loosely around 1 Kings 12:24 that states “this thing is from me“. It request that we look at the weakest moments in our lives differently; that we instead view them as divine interventions, and opportunities to draw closer in faith, and learn something. I believe this goes directly against what the “world” would have to say or have us to feel. When we are faced with interruptions in our lives it is simply human nature to cry out “Why Me?”, “Why Now?”. I know for myself it is difficult to imagine a loving God that would allow such heart ache in our lives. As our wait has now crossed the 18-month threshold, it would be very easy to fall into the trap of being discouraged and frustrated, throwing up our hands defeat.

Hebrews 12:4–11 states “In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.

“What this sermon inspires me to do, is ask a different question. “What would You have me learn from this heart ache?” I want to take this opportunity to learn everything I possibly can, “Teach me, I stand as your ready pupil willing and able to learn” What a powerfully different way to look at a down situation. When you come to the realization that God is treating you as his child, that he hasn’t allowed this interruption in your life to break you down, but instead to build you up. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10, “Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

These words also strike against the modern misconception that if you are close to the Lord you will not have any problems in your life, but quite the opposite is true. Everyone will have bends in the road. The important thing to remember is that you will never be given more than you can bear. David Jeremiah looks back on two key figures from the Bible, Job and Paul. Both of these men were buffeted by Satan, but only to the point that God would allow. Satan is powerless without permission. David says this extremely powerful statement “Ultimately, everything that happens to us is filtered through the hands of a loving God“. Wow! IF that doesn’t force you to take an alternate perspective on whatever your bend in the road  might currently be.

David reads aloud a letter that he was once given from a 1981 published article entitled “This Thing is From Me“, which takes an interesting perspective on a letter from God.

Have you ever thought that all that concerns you, concerns Me too? For “he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of Mine eye” (Zechariah 2:8).

I would have you learn when temptations assail you, and the “enemy comes in like a flood,” that this thing is from Me, that your weakness needs My might, and your safety lies in letting Me fight for you.

Are you in difficult circumstances? This thing is from Me. I am the God of circumstances. Your surroundings and companions are only working out My will.

Are you in money difficulties? Is it hard to make both ends meet? This thing is from Me, for I am your purse bearer, and I would have you draw from and depend upon Me. My supplies are limitless (see Philippians 4:19). I would have you prove My promises.

Are you passing through a night of sorrow? This thing is from Me. I am “The Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” I have let earthly comforters fail you so that by turning to Me you may obtain everlasting consolation (see II Thessalonians 2:16, 17).

Has some friend disappointed you? One to whom you opened your heart? This thing is from Me. I have allowed this disappointment to come so that you may learn that I am your best friend.

Have your plans been all upset? Are you bowed down and weary? This thing is from Me. You made your plans, then came asking Me to bless them, but I would have you let Me plan for you and then I take the responsibility, for “this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone” (Exodus 18:18). You are only an instrument.

Have you longed to do some great work for Me, and instead been laid aside on a bed of pain and weakness? This thing is from Me. I could not get your attention in your busy days, and I want to teach you some of My deepest lessons. “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Some of My greatest workers are those shut out from active service, that they may learn to wield the weapon of all-prayer.

Are you suddenly called to occupy a difficult and responsible position? Launch out on Me. I am trusting you with the “possession of difficulties,” and for “this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto” (Deuteronomy 15:10).

This day I place in your hand this pot of holy oil; make use of it freely, My child. Remember, “interruptions are divine instructions.” The sting will go as you learn to see Me in all things; therefore, “set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day … for it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land” (Deuteronomy 32:46, 47).

I must admit that we have struggled over the past 18 months, and as the wait grows longer, it becomes harder and harder to remain positive and not grow weary. I do know that God has a divine purpose and that ultimately we will receive clarity and understanding when we look into the eyes of our little blessing(s). We are continued to be blessed this year as the Lord has worked miracles in our lives and so many family and friends have given us strength and encouragement. “What will God teach us?” This will continue to take shape and form as each day passes, and we continue to remain ready and willing to go wherever He take us next. Just as our fundraiser puzzle is beginning to take shape as each little piece falls into place, so does our journey. I believe God has taken this 18-months to strengthen so many areas in our lives and I can see His hand in all we do. We have a renewed strength in our marriage as we have had to lean on each other everyday. We have been truly blessed in our faith to find Bethany UM, which has allowed us to grow stronger, find a sense of community, become involved once again in a congregation, and work towards hopefully one day forming a strong Orphan and Widow ministry long beyond our adoption.

I will end this blog post, just as David ended his 2 part message, with the amazing poem below. I pray that this message has helped you if you are going through a bend in the road to find a renewed sense of encouragement and patience as it has for me. Being a part of the AGCI Facebook group, I have seen God work so many miracles in the last 18 months. Each day I continued to be amazed by His presence and I smile from ear to ear to know that our day of victory is coming. It’s just around the bend.

A Bend in the Road (Helen Steiner Rice)

Sometimes we come to life’s crossroads
And we view what we think is the end.
But God has a much wider vision
And he knows that it’s only a bend-

The road will go on and get smoother
And after we’ve stopped for a rest,
The path that lies hidden beyond us
Is often the path that is best.

So rest and relax and grow stronger,
Let go and let God share your load
And have faith in a brighter tomorrow-
You’ve just come to a bend in the road.

 

Apr 17, 2012 - Our Story    1 Comment

In His Hands

This week I continued to be amazed by the continuos ability of God to provide me encouragement in ways I did not seek out, but instead were placed upon my path. Specifically, today, I find strength in a verse from Jeremiah 29:11  I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. This verse rings true to our story and to many other situations in where we have been provided an opportunity in which we choose to fully rely on God’s understanding and direction to provide the best outcome. There is such a relief when you are able to truly give your worries and prayers over to the master who controls everything, you no longer have to carry the burdens or worry how things will resolve.

In an interesting example, Joel Olsteen recently told a story about how sometimes he DVR’s sports events when he is away from home. He tells of how when watching them back, he may have already seen a newspaper headline or spoken with a friend and has discovered the final outcome of the game. He speaks of how encouraging it is when he watches the game back even when his team falls behind or suffers a major setback. It is only more exciting to know that there are great things in store for his team. That the game is not over. Victory will be his, and it will be made even sweeter with every point they may fall behind and are forced to bounce back from. He encourages us to treat our everyday lives in this similar manor knowing that God never ends in defeat, never looses, and will never let us fall to our enemies. When you know this and you truly believe this, you can continue to find hope in situations where the odds look stacked against you. I continue to hear from multiple instances in the past few months a powerful verse from Psalms 23:4 Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, LORD, for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me. Over the past year I have found renewed meaning in this verse with direction that we are only walking through the darkness, and not into the darkness. There will be victory on the other side, and you will get there with God’s help.

As we continue to wait on God’s perfect timing, it can sometimes be difficult to not be discouraged. He has been so perfect at stepping in at just the right moments for us and giving us a renewed sense of hope and purpose and it has been absolutely amazing to experience. Recently we met with several members of our congregation and spoke to them in regards to the adoption ministry that Heidi and I continue to feel called towards beginning at our church. We have been praying earnestly for God to give us direction and set before us the path that he would have us go down. We are beginning to see doors open and receive further direction are excited to see where this part of our journey will lead.

I will leave you with this verse below, and encourage you to lift your worries and hearts desires to God and put your full trust that he will works things out in your favor. He has planned for you to succeed before you were even on Earth and loves to fulfill your hearts desires. I can speak personally to the fact that when we have given our full energy towards letting God take the reigns he has not only answered, but has answered in overabundance, leaving us truly amazed.

Ephesians 3:20–21 God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. 
Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!

Feb 11, 2012 - Our Story    2 Comments

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Instructions to reading this blog post:

  1. Open a separate tab on your browser and paste in this link –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-diB65scQU&feature=relat
  2. Come back to our Blog and read the post with this playing in the background
  3. Smile & Praise God for the blessings in your life.

On a day that I should be feeling quite somber as we have officially been on the wait list for 15 months, I am reminded by my God to not worry, be happy. Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

This past week I was blessed to have this message placed on my heart through various sources. In my daily car-sermon from David Jeremiah he is currently leading a series entitled Slaying the Giants in Your Life. I have listened through this series previously, but am restrengthened by its encouraging message once more. David discusses the scriptures feeling on worry, and why God says not to let worry control your life. He states that worry is simply something based on the future, of which you have no control. He says A worry does not rob tomorrow of it sorrow but robs today of its strength. Jesus does not tell us this to have us live our lives as a free-spirit casting our cares to the wind. He speaks of being concerned, not worrying. During his message, David refers to being concerned as being based in the present, things of which you do have control. God does call us to be concerned over things in our life, and for those things to make a plan. If it is an item that we have no control over, in our particular case the timing of when God finds our perfect child is ready, then it can be considered worry. Like most things, easier said than done. Something I pray earnestly about each and every week, for God to grant us patience and understanding for the things of which we do not know.

I was also led to scripture this week for a great example of not worrying. I am currently (7% complete) in my quest to read the entire bible, and I am still working my way through Genesis. I have been reading about the story of Joseph, Jacobs son who was sold into slavery by his older brothers. What a frightening thing to have happen in your life. Through the next several chapters he goes from finding favor with his master to being double-crossed and thrown in jail. Through all of these episodes he continues to find favor with God and is made the most prominent prisoner and eventually gets out of jail to become the second most powerful man in Egypt. What an encouragement to keep your faith that you can go from knocking on death’s door to being victorious.

Is it simple to take something that you may have been worrying about for years and turn it over to Christ? Well—Yes. David makes a powerful statement…”A man of God in the will of God is immortal until his work on earth is done.” in other words If I am in the will of God, going where God wants me to go, I can be sure that God knows what He is doing with me. What a sense of power and freedom this statement has. God cares about you and wants to see you prosper. During his message he reminds us that God created us and cares about even the minor details in our lives, so why wouldn’t he care for the major details. He tells of a parable that Jesus discusses one day with the crowds. In olden days people would by sparrows, and they could get 2 sparrows for 1/16 of a days wage. They could by 4 sparrows and get the 5th one FREE—that’s right there were even bargains in the bible…haha. He tells the crowd that God cares for all the sparrows—even the FREE one. If God cares about free sparrows if they fall from the sky or not, why would he not care about the worries of the ones who were made in his own image?

So instead of worrying today, I look to Psalms 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you. I pray that God will continue to grant us patience and understanding in his timing. Lift up our heavy hearts and know that He is perfect, He has a plan, and we just have to hang in there. That he will help us learn not to worry as each day passes, but to look hopeful towards the future that He has planned for us. Looking to the journey he have traveled and the road ahead, I know that we will continue to be encouraged by all of the wonderful people in our lives and be blessed. I thank everyone for all of their encouragement.

We are going to Philadelphia tonight to introduce our best friends to Ethiopian cuisine. We are so excited and I look forward to sharing in this wonderful part of our lives. I’m sure tonight will be filled with wonderful visions of our beautiful blessing(s) and it warms my heart just thinking about the amazing things He has in store.

Jan 27, 2012 - Our Story    1 Comment

Tested

This past Sunday I watched a broadcast of Joel Olsteen that was entitled “God Is In Control of the Storm” and it spoke to my heart and to our journey. During the message he spoke to the times in your life when things are going in your favor, and how you can say with great assurance that God is in control. The waters of life are calm and you are in good spirits. It’s during these times that it is important to give thanks and praise God for the blessings you have received, but what happens when things are not going your way? When the winds pick-up and the waters of life become choppy and unruly.

The radio message from David Jeremiah yesterday was centered around the message of Faith? Both David and Joel would agree that having strong faith does not exempt us from experiencing “storms” in our lives. Through my weekly Bible reading, I have already discovered multiple times that people who were in God’s favor had their faith tested. Take Job for example, who ranked highly on God’s list, yet lost his family, his health, and all of his material possessions. It is these times that it takes faith, to believe that God is still in control. There is an interesting song on the top of Christian charts right now by New Song, entitled “The Same God” that correlates beautifully with Joel’s message. Part of it’s lyrics read “There was a day when your faith couldn’t be held down; God was near enough to every word; But somehow you wish he heard you right now; Don’t you know [Chorus] The same God who was with you then, is with you now“.

It is easy to think during life’s struggles, God—How could you let this happen to me? but what Joel’s message speaks to is that God will not allow a storm in your life unless he has a divine purpose for it. If the struggle that your facing would prevent you from reaching your destiny in life, God would not have permitted it to happen, but He is instead using it to take you from point A to point B in your life’s plan. He makes a very powerful statement about tough times in our life. He says “instead of using our faith to pray away the problem, we should use our faith to believe that when the problem is gone we will be exactly where God wants us to be“.

I find it interesting when God places things in front of us as examples that he will use later on to teach us something. I was blessed enough during our latest trip to Tioga, PA to check off an item from my bucket list. In the center of what is known as Dead Man’s Hollow was a majestic Bald Eagle flying through the wind and the snow. I had always wanted to see one of these in nature and not cramped up in some stuffy zoo. Following him through my binoculars I was amazed at how graceful and powerful he appeared given his present surroundings. During the message Joel referred to the bald eagle as an example of faith. He said that when eagle flies into a storm, he doesn’t try to fight his way into the winds and the rain, but instead stretches out his wings and rises above the storm using the wind to his advantage. When the winds are against you, its easy to get frustrated and struggle trying to make things work your way, but instead be an eagle, say “God I’m done struggling, I trust you“. You will find that with the realization that God is in control, the winds that were meant to push you down will lift you up and you’ll rise above.

I can tell you from personal experience that this is true. Two years ago when the waters became choppy and the winds began to blow and we discovered that we couldn’t have children naturally I often wondered “Why was this happening?” at first I became bitter and discouraged, feeling lost. We leaned heavily on God through the process of IVF, but it wasn’t until our second round that things began to click inside. I began to relinquish control of what we wanted so badly and my prayers shifted to having faith in what God wanted for our lives. It was the very moment that we let go of the reins and allowed God to take control, that the winds began to shift. We went from having the winds in our face, to the winds at our back.

It was several years ago in Margate, NJ that Heidi and  I ran a 10-miler in the middle of 60+ winds and rain…another literal example that God provided in my life. Running from Margate toward Atlantic City was a struggle, sometimes pushing us backwards and requiring all of our focus and strength to power through; however the amazing part of the race came on our return back to the finish line. With the wind to our backs we ran 2 minutes faster per mile and with much less effort. How powerful it felt to have the winds on our back pushing us forward towards our goal.

Near the end of Olsteen’s message he provided a quote that I really enjoyed. He said “Let your test, become your testimony“. He spoke to this saying that God is truly in control. He can move mountains, repair relationships, heal disease, he even brought people back from the dead among many other things. If this is truly your faith that God has this power, don’t you then have to trust that he can lead through the storm? He says that if you are going from point A to point B along what is your destiny, and you hit a bump in your road. God has  the ultimate power to shift the winds and you would have an excellent testimony to share with others, but imagine the testimony you would have if he leads you through the winds to the other side.

I have for a very long time felt that Heidi and I will have an amazing testimony to share with others when we reach point B, and I look forward everyday to sharing the story with our child and with so many others of how God walked beside us through our journey and at times carried us when we grew weary. Sirius XM The Message always provides interesting quotes throughout its broadcast and I will end with one of Heidi and I’s favorites “God won’t protect you from things that perfect you“. I pray that whatever storms may be in your life, that you will allow God to take control and shift the winds in your life. You will find when this happens you will be propelled forward and find yourself amazed at how you race towards your destiny.

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