What to say?

Sorry for the silence. Aside from trying to gain my bearings as I’ve transitioned out of my full-time job, I didn’t post anything because I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep this secret if I blogged:

1383466_10101263983099644_292583804_n

Baby Shows 2 due April (I’m 12 weeks in this photo)

Yup, we are having a biological child. I’m due April 19, which feels like it’ll be here before I know it. We found out in August and it was a hard secret to keep.

Obviously, everything feels different this time around. Instead of looking at a photo of child who is growing halfway around the world, I see my ever-growing stomach expanding. Instead of the paper chase and madly fundraising, I see doctors and can rely on health insurance. Instead of a child growing in my heart, I have a sonogram of the child being knitted in my womb. Instead of airplanes and travel to the most amazing continent, we will be driving to a hospital and meeting our new person.

The processes are different, but my prayer is still the same: That this child would grow in grace, love, and faith and know that God loves him/her very much and that I would be equipped to mother both of these children in the way that brings out the best that God has for them.

While the processes are different, both paths have been uniquely beautiful.

However, I can say that I love that God called us to adoption first. I grew significantly in my faith during that process. I learned so much about God’s faithfulness to us. Although the learning curve on parenting a child who has already experienced so much has been high, I am grateful for the opportunity to be Ephrem’s mommy. From the moment I saw his first photo, I saw my son and was determined to do anything to protect him. It made me realize beyond a shadow of a doubt that love makes a family, not DNA. 

Ephrem & Mommy

That’s a lesson that I don’t take for granted. I remember when we first came home and Ephrem was so scared, so insecure. And we were clueless. We have had to learn to be a family. He has learned to trust us. We have learned how to parent in a way that best suits him. We learned to love first and laugh deeply. We learned that love is an action, more than it is that warm fuzzy feeling in our hearts or words from our mouths.

So this next child may not come home on an airplane, but this child will enter the world into a family that has learned to love well.

Advertisements

Seeking Justice

This is a hard post to write. I’m going to (try to) be transparent. I’ve been home for a week from Guatemala and have had some time to reflect. I didn’t go to Guatemala with the intentions of limiting what God would do in me, but some where along the way that happened. I didn’t go with the attitude of humility or excitement of the first trip. Not that I was (intentionally) overly proud, but I think part of me “knew” what to expect in the experience. And so God had this pre-packaged version of the trip that I gave Him.

Fortunately, our God redeems. He takes what we give Him, smiles, and gives us back so much more.

Jami

I wrote about meeting Jami while we were there. I was so completely caught off guard by that moment. Honesty, that moment revealed an ugly truth about my heart: I can be nearly scientific in maintaining emotional distance and not engaging with people’s stories on a vulnerable level. I use the excuse that I’m not a “people” person, but truth be told, I don’t want to be vulnerable myself. By playing a simple game of catch and smiling through my awkward Spanish skills, God opened my heart enough to this experience to break it.

Despite being home for a week, that experience remains fresh, my heart remains broken.

June 2013 328

One thing that struck me on this trip is the scale and complexity of the problem of poverty. I was, in a word, overwhelmed. Our world is so very broken because of sin. Poverty and the inequality of the “system” is a symptom. What is more challenging is that by serving Jami and her family, the story of the poor wasn’t something I was reading in a magazine or on a blog, but something that personally affected me. I looked into her eyes…and I saw a person who by merely being born in Pastores, Guatemala lived in a house made out of particle board with no running water or electricity and who did not go to school. And who didn’t own a toothbrush.

That humility that I didn’t “pack,” showed up in a hurry.

Even though my human heart is overwhelmed by the scale and complexity of the problem of justice, I know that our God doesn’t turn His eyes from the poor. He actively pursues not only justice but honor for the poor.

“He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
And He set the world on them.”

1 Samuel 2:8

Jami now lives in a new house, with a locking door. Her family has a water filtration system that makes even the most polluted river water drinkable. She has a toothbrush, and toothpaste. Because God remembers her. Her name is written on His palm. He has a plan for Jami.

June 2013 435

The experience has circled back to this question for me: What does it mean for me to seek justice? What does seeking justice look like for me (and for our family)? While God doesn’t need me, per se, He wants me to be part of His plan and His work. So what does that look like for me?

I am completely humbled by the fact that God chose to use a little girl in Guatemala to bring me back to my knees. Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible. I am grateful that God used you in this opportunity. Thank you.

 

Elisabeth Elliot on Waiting

I might have poured my heart out on the blog the other day. As I was cleaning up a stack of books, I came across one of my favorite books, A Path through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot. In the book was a piece of paper. I’m not sure what this is from – other than a brief title of “Waiting – Elisabeth Elliot”- but it spoke to me with where I am.

Waiting requires patience – a willingness calmly to accept what we have or have not, where we are or where we wish we were, whomever we live or work with.

To want what we don’t have is impatience, for one thing, and it is to mistrust God. Is He not in complete control of all circumstances, events, and conditions? If some are beyond His control, He is not God.

A spirit of resistance cannot wait on God. I believe it is this spirit which is the reason for some of our greatest sufferings. Opposing the workings of the Lord in and through our “problems” only exacerbates them. It is here and now that we must win our victories or suffer defeats. Spiritual victories are won in the quiet acceptance of ordinary events, which are God’s “bright servants,” standing all around us.

Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands. “Peace I leave with you; I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27, NEB). What sort of peace has He to give us? A peace which was constant in the midst of ceaseless work (with few visible results), frequent interruptions, impatient demands, few physical comforts; a peace which was not destroyed by the arguments, the faithlessness, and hatred of the people. Jesus had perfect confidence in His Father, whose will He had come to accomplish. Nothing touched Him without His Father’s permission. Nothing touches me without my Father’s permission. Can I not then wait patiently? He will show the way.

If I am willing to be still in my Master’s hand, can I not then be still in everything? He’s got the whole world in His hands! Never mind whether things come from God Himself or from people — everything comes by His ordination or permission. If I mean to be obedient and submissive to the Lord because He is my Lord, I must not forget whatever He allows to happen becomes, for me, HI swill at that moment. Perhaps it is someone else’s sinful action, but if God allows it to affect me, He wills it for my learning. The need to wait is, for me, a form of chastening. God has to calm me down, make me shut up and look to Him for the outcome.

His message to me every day
Is wait, be still, trust, and obey.

“This, then, is of faith, that everything, the very least, or what seems to us great, every change of the seasons, everything which touches us in mind, body, or estate, whether brought about through this outward senseless nature, or by the will of man, good or bad, is overruled to each of us by the all-holy and all-loving will of God. Whatever befalls us, however it befalls us, we must receive as the will of God. If it befalls us through man’s negligence, or ill-will, or anger, still it is, in even the least circumstance, to us the will of God. For if the least thing could happen to us without God’s permission, it would be something out of God’s control. God’s providence or His love would not be what they are. Almighty God Himself would not be the same God; not the God whom we believe, adore, and love” (E.B. Pusey, 1800-19982)

Hope (again)

Thank you to everyone who commented or emailed or messaged me on Facebook to reassure me that 1) How I feel is normal, 2) I will make it, and 3) Eventually Little Man will sleep and my sanity will return. (It might not be for 17 years, but eventually.) In the moment, it’s hard to walk this path when you feel alone. And parenting through attachment, sleepless nights, and normal toddler-hood is nothing if it doesn’t feel isolating. As new parents who had to hit the ground running, I am often baffled by the question, “Is this in the bounds of normal?”

20120801-213842.jpg

But the beauty of this journey is that while no one can do the hard stuff for us, we are constantly supported through encouragement by our family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. We are truly enveloped by your love. Thank you for helping me to see that, yep, this is all normal.

20120801-213644.jpg

With another turn in our story, I’m not sure I can say that I understand God’s ways in this particular moment, but I hold fast to this truth: God is good. That alone means that He will guide us in His will, which is perfect and good for all those who love Him. Even when it feels like a desert place because of the drought, God is faithful to provide for His children through the season. I might not see the purpose, the plan, or understand the reason, but I know, I know that my God, my Jehovah Nissi, my El Roi, my Jehovah Shalom is for me.

Today, I read a post by a blogger/writer I follow. She posted it last week. I read it when I needed it (today). I hope it encourages you as it did me.

When you know your Father’s loving — what can you fear losing?

He’s as calm as a man walking on water.

He hears us. He loves us. He has us. So whatever happens, He’s good and we’re good.

I look at him — He’s like a man completely resting on water. Isn’t that it? We pray to the Lord knowing His answer is Love.

And God is no genie and we don’t pray to God to pry something from God. We pray to God to be prepared by God for a purpose of God.

We don’t pray to get more from God — we pray to become more in Christ.

We pray because entering His presence is the answer to all our prayers.

Somedays just laying our head in His hands is the way we lay the burdens down.

The scars on His hands were made to be the perfect ditches for our tears....[Continue reading on A Holy Experience]

This one thing

Sorry for the silence, folks. I’m still trying to adjust to this world with bottles, baby food, diapers, nap time, pterodactyl happy or unhappy screaming….and now work as I return intermittently for the remainder of my FMLA leave.

I’ve been seeking God about new directions, the desires of my heart, and His timing. These types of seasons are so hard. Though I plead with God for what I want, I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know how things will work out. I simply continue to sit and wait, hoping that He will answer me, that He will continue to be faithful to my requests.

I’m sure this post is vague and you might be thinking, what is she asking for? Without sharing too much publicly, I’m asking God to continue to fill the desires of my heart. Although I have specifically asked for two things, I am praying this one thing:

That God would give me His will.

This point was underscored during the message at church on Sunday about prayer. I am making my request of what I do want and hope will be His will, but ultimately I want to have His perfect will accomplished in my life. What that looks like, I’m not sure right now. Until I hear otherwise, I think it means continuing to be where we are.

I never thought the words of the “Lord’s Prayer” to be painful, until I realized what those words require of me: humility, faith, forgiveness, repentance, and an understanding that I do not, in fact, know what’s best for me. Those words are not merely words any longer. They are a reminder to live for a God who is holy, sovereign, provision, forgiving, and faithful.

Whatever I think I want I for my life, He clearly knows better. He is a Father who gives good gifts. The Creator of the world who, in His goodness, created all things, will certainly guide us in the very best path for our lives as the Shows family.

Yes, Lord, “Thy will be done.”
Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Matthew 6:9-13

My soul does wait

I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is lovingkindness,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

(Psalm 130:5-8)

Hope in Laments

 This I recall to my mind, 
Therefore I have hope. 
The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, 
For His compassions never fail. 
They are new every morning; 
Great is Your faithfulness. 
The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, 
“Therefore I have hope in Him.” 
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, 
To the person who seeks Him. 
It is good that he waits silently 
For the salvation of the LORD. 

The prophet Jeremiah