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