Thursday, December 29, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
and stretch out your hands to him,
14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand
and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
you will stand firm and without fear.
16 You will surely forget your trouble,
recalling it only as waters gone by.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
If you havent seen it - Buy The Nativity Story Now about $10 on amazon!
In May of 2011 we received an email from our local homestudy agency about a situation locally that needed a family who was ready immediately to take a boy about to be born that the planned adoptive family had changed their minds about. After praying and careful research and consideration we realized that this seemed to be the best case scenario for us. The birth mother said over and over that she was 100% going to move forward. She was not parenting her two older children and said she could not parent a new child. She had already spent some of the pregnancy in jail and been through domestic disputes with the birth father. We excitedly got the room ready, the supplies, through the paperwork, took care of the birthmom and got to know her.
In late June the bm called me saying she was headed to the hospital and to hold tight until she got settled and then she would call and we could head up. I spent the day going through labor with her. Holding her hand when she needed someone to squeeze. Helping her walk to the bathroom. Putting ice in her mouth. Rubbing her hand, arm, face, whatever I could do to help. Late that night it was time to push. They asked me to hold one of the legs. She told them she wanted to hold the baby a moment and then to hand him to me, and that I would name him for the birth cert. It was crazy. First birth I have seen. I have no words. He came out. Beautiful. I cut the cord and we held him and fed him. Mr Awesome excitedly came in and gave him his first bottle. We took pictures and texted our parents and siblings the pictures.
The bm has asked for the baby to stay overnight in the nursery. It was after midnight and we had been up since 1am the night before. The doctor would be in around 5am they said so the nurses advised we go back to the hotel for a couple hours sleep. When we returned after a couple hours of sleep the baby was back in the bm's room. We were also told she had asked for him the night before, but then hadn't been feeding him or changing the diapers. We quickly took care of these needs and spent the day in a tiny room with the baby, bm, and the bm's current boyfriend. We watched movies and laughed and took care of the baby. Towards the end of the day, the night before the papers were to be signed, she seemed to be fighting with the bf and ended up leaving. I asked if she was ok and if she was going for a walk and she said yes. We continued to care for the baby and at some point I realized she had been gone a while. In the instant I realized the lawyer called and informed me that she was changing her mind.
What followed was terrible grieving. Many tears. Many many tears. Took a while to come back to planet earth after this. Its not really explainable...
first hangup was a sonogram that hinted at club foot, down syndrome, and possibly cleft palate/lip. We prayed and opted to move forward after being told there was a good chance the baby had all that. we knew God would lead us no matter the challenges. the very day we said we would definitely move forward regardless of possible ds and others... we were told the bfather was now a problem and though earlier said he would sign now refusing and wanted to parent the child. we learned the birth father was abusive, college dropout, a drug addict, and convicted of drug charges. we were also told in 99% of situations the bfather never follows through. we were told we just needed to send a letter forcing him to claim or walk away from the baby. we were assured he would walk away. next we were told he and his father planned to fight for the baby because they really wanted to force bmother to keep him. in our hearts we gave up then. we felt it important to continue supporting bm though. and we did. texted, called, encouraged... when she was sad or stressed she would call crying and we would encourage her that God had a plan and no matter what it would work out. then we were told the baby no longer showed any signs of ds or other birth problems. yay. then there was question that bf was the bf. so after child was born they did pat test. four days later we were told to expect the call with results. being told bf was the only one to have unprotected sex with her we were anxious to get the call so we could officially put it all behind us. but instead we got a call "hes not the father come get him."
lawyer was out of town though. so baby had to stay with bm all weekend. spent the weekend with the baby caring for the baby at bfam's house since lawyer said not to take the baby until after signing, despite bfam's offer to take him back to hotel. tuesday morning started getting weird calls from bfamily about that they didnt want to deal with crazy lawyer anymore. while we agreed we wanted this done and over with so we just encouraged them and told them to let us know what they wanted to do. in the end we got call from the lawyer that it was over, confirmed by bgm.
had to go over and pick up the carseat we had left from the day before when we took bfam out to ice cream. i walked in and they immediately threw the baby in my arms and left the room. as soon as i looked down at him I started sobbing. then grandma came back. she said "shes in the shower. dont leave until you get to see her". When she walked out half crawling on the floor sobbing. hysterical. I went to hug her. Tried to hand baby to her. she couldnt hold him up. she handed him to grandma. grandma left room with him. we hugged and bawled. she kept saying "im so sorry. im so sorry. its not my fault. its not my fault". i left. she fell. then crawled to her room crawling. said to her grandma "cant do this. shes leaving".
we left. drove home. cried on and off. got home. went to sleep. i was scared i would wake up in that same depression like the first time this happened. but no. woke up full of hope and ready for the future. God is good.
thats the long and short of it. onward.
"Advent links our hearts with those of ancient prophets who pined for a long-promised Messiah but who passed away long before his arrival. In the process, Advent reminds us that we too are waiting." - Timothy Paul Jones
Interesting to think that as we wait for our child we also are given a peek into what it was like to wait for the messiah. Wow. Never thought about that before.
God is Good!
Monday, December 19, 2011
chamomile tea - yummm
my husband - :)
my friends and family
that i have food in my belly
that i have a roof over my head
that i have clothes on my back
that i live in florida
that i live in the usa
that we have freedom thanks to those who sacrifice
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth.[b] A song.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD Almighty is with us
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Love at first sight might not be the exact term to describe us. I mean we fell in love more and more over time. But by the end of my first date with Mr Awesome I knew that this was the very husband I had asked the Lord for. He fit absolutely every little thing I had ever prayed for my husband and more. It was as if the Lord opened up the heavens and mr awesome walked down the stairs and the Lord said - "Here he is! Just like you asked!" So, though our love grew over time, we knew right away we were our lobsters.
Perhaps it was 6 months before he proposed to me but I think we were engaged from the moment our eyes first met, at least in our hearts. We knew a long engagement was a good idea so others could get used to it and we could have time to prepare for each other. So we set our wedding date for about 15 months after our first date. When he asked my dad for my hand, my dad told him "I have been praying God would bring an amazing Christian man into Maggie's life to be her husband. I know that you are the one I have been praying for." My dad would tell me early on that when I was with mr awesome he could see in my eyes that I was happier and more at peace than he had ever seen me.
Now, I have friends who married quick in a courthouse and regret it. I have friends who always say "one day we will have the wedding I always wanted", and they never do. So, while I didn't want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on our wedding, I wanted it to be something we would remember and be happy about.
Now, for a long time after our wedding mr awesome and I would cringe when we talked about it. It was beautiful. It was amazing. It was more than I could hope for. It was fun. In fact, I have to say it was the most fun I have had at a wedding. It wasn't the stress most people talk about. I had fun. I spent time with friends and family. We danced, laughed, and ate, and drank, and talked, and danced. It was amazing. It felt like a fairy tale. So why would we cringe?
Basically mr awesome didnt do something he said he would the morning of the wedding, and while my friends and I were scurrying to finish things he relaxed by the pool with his family. I spent the morning calling him prince <insertRealNameHere> (in a sarcastic tone).
One of my besties, A, was trying to knock me out of my mania and while I was sitting on the balcony having my hair done at my mom's, she asked me to do the ABCs of why I love mr awesome. Kind of like when we are stressed or mad and we do the ABCs of how the Lord blesses us. Every time she would give me a letter I would say something negative. And shed frown. And I would call him "the prince" in that obnoxious tone. We got through it. Regardless of my anger at the situation (which was clearly amplified by the anxiety of the wedding day), I knew that mr awesome was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and melted ice certainly didn't change that.
At this point its not a cringe-worthy event anymore. We laugh at it. I realized something recently. I spent the day calling mr awesome a prince, and the truth is he is my prince. He has come into my life and swept me off my feet and carried me away on the back of his horse. He loves me, protects me, spoils me, indulges me, cares for me, stands up for me, and would absolutely put everything on the line for my well being. He doesn't always give me everything I want, but he gives me everything I need, most of what I want, and all that is good for me. Sometimes I want to be irresponsible but he is forever responsible and forever a rule follower. If something isn't good for us in the long run, he won't concede. Which is not to say that he doesn't spoil me. When something is wrong he rushes to me. When someone has offended me he rushes to me and stands in front of me. When I am weak he holds me up. When I am sad he wipes my tears and holds my hand. When I am mad he takes up a sword. When I am wrong with others he softly tells me that I am wrong. When I am wrong with him he is silent. He prays with me. He prays for me. He reads me the bible. He constantly reminds me of God's love for me.
Sound familiar? We are told to find a man who reflects Christ and marry him. I have indeed done that. Not to pat my own back... I would have had to have been completely blind deaf and dumb to not have seen my prince when he descended those stairs and the Lord presented him to me exactly as I had asked.
Tomorrow is the four year anniversary of our first date. Every day I love him more than the day before. I am a loved and adored wife. I am a loved and adored child of God. I am a blessed woman. And certainly... I married a prince.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go
Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
The very next morning we got some bad news. And immediately went to that playlist and played it for days... constantly... Thursday I was on my way to my sisters for my niece's birthday fighting tears for various disappointments in the week... when I was blasting this playlist a song came on, by Kirk Franklin and Toby Mac, called I AM God. I don't remember putting this on my playlist or honestly even ever buying this song. But suddenly this song rocked my world.
I saw myself, almost dressed like a roman soldierish... and bent down on one knee, with a spear in my right hand, head bowed. Fighting to get up and flail and fight. But the Lord put his hand on my shoulder and kept reminding me to be still and know He is God and that He has everything under control. It was a fight... but it gave me more reassurance and hope and just reminded me of how LOVED I am. Read the lyrics I have posted below for the part that really got me. This song has echoed in my head all week and reassured me in hard times. Check out the video :)
You win. (uh huh!)
I've been trying to do it on my own. (Yes Lord!)
But right now I gotta surrender.
You know what's best. (Say it like you mean it!)
It's not easy waiting on you.
It's not easy believing that you got this together.
But without faith it is impossible to please you. (We recognize you!)
So I'm gonna stand right here. (We are still before you!)
You got me. (We are still before you!) You got me. You got me.
Be still and know (we know!) I am God (We gonna lift those hands. I surrender to your authority God! I surrender!)
Be still (we're still!) and know (we know!) I am God (I give you my will)(Gotta know! Gotta! know! Gotta know!)
Be still (I'm yours!) and know (we know!) (I'm yours!) I am God (I'm tired of living on my own! I'm tired of living on my own!)
Be still and know (we know!) I am God (You are God!)
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Every good and perfect gift in my life really is from the Lord. I am so thankful for everything He has given me in my life.
- My husband, mr awesome. I prayed for years for a very specific husband. I prayed He would be humble, Christ loving, tender, funny, forgiving, patient, doting. If someone were to meet mr awesome, these very specific traits would be the first they would notice of him. I prayed the Lord would bring mr awesome to me, and He did. This man loves like I have not known love before. This man protects and cares for me. This man spoils me. Be brings me flowers, like yesterday, when I was sad. He leads me with strong arms. He reflects Christ to me. He encourages me. He holds me accountable. He cuddles me. He burritohugs me. He indulges me. He is patient with me. He puts up with me at my worst (which isnt fun hehe). He sweetly, loyally, patiently loves me in a way I did not know was possible. I literally love him more every day than the day before. I feel right now like I could not love him one ounce more, but tomorrow I will wake and find that I do. And so on. I am so so so thankful for this gift in my life. The Lord has blessed me with a husband that I do not deserve.
- My home. Before mr awesome and I married we were looking for a house to live in once we married. We drove around looking at rentals and when we found a particular home and parked in the driveway we both agreed it would be dreamy to live in this house and intended to rent it. It was on a lake, with a back yard, backed up to a forest on one side. It was a relatively new two story home with a garage and it just looked so cute and our style from the front. It looked perfect, and homey, and peaceful. Well we decided to buy a house instead, and would you believe that this house that we fell in love with was suddenly for sale right when we were looking. Not only that, but we were able to buy it in short sale in a matter of months for less than half of the amount the previous owner had paid. Though at times it seemed hopeless, and at times we thought we would have to give up, but I just had a feeling the Lord had this house for us and we pushed through. This house is not just a house but a home. We are told by people who visit that it is homey and they feel peaceful, cozy, and welcome in our house. The Lord has blessed us with a home that we do not deserve, but gives us a peaceful respite from the world.
- My friends. I remember about 10 years ago. I was lonely. I had a few friends. But no one close. No one to encourage me, hold me accountable, really enjoy life with. I remember sitting on my couch praying... crying out to the Lord.. begging for friends, christian friends, to walk life with. This was a prayer I cried out often. Though it felt like I waited for them longer than I wanted to, it was actually a prayer answered quickly. I am beyond beyond blessed to have two of the most amazing friends in the world. These two girls were there for me when there was no mr awesome. These two girls grilled mr awesome repeatedly before they gave their blessings. These two girls held me up when I wanted to fall down, and continue to. These two girls encourage me, bless me, strengthen me, and hold me. When the three of us or any two of us are together we laugh, and we laugh, and we laugh. We laugh so hard we make crazy funny noises and often have to run for the bathroom. The joy they bring into my and mr awesome's life is immeasurable. Through good times and hard times, and fights and hurt feelings they have always been there. And they are a gift to me from the Lord that I am so undeserving of.
Monday, December 5, 2011
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
We painted this on the wall of the nursery. I think the Lord had us put it there more for us than for anything. LOL. We have needed the Lord's strength this year in ways beyond what we expected. We knew it would be a year of trials, but I don't imagine we planned on the level of pain and disappointment that was waiting for us.
We expected to be home in the early part of this year with a little one from Ethiopia. We didn't imagine it would be December and we would still be waiting for a referral with 2 major domestic disruptions and 3 minor. We didn't imagine we would love and care for a baby and then have him taken away. We didnt expect to be just the two of us this Christmas.
But God did. God knew and expected and prepared us.
Since the day I married mr awesome I never once questioned that decision. When we were attached at the hip our first year and longed for every second with each other... people told us, oh that will last about a year tops... Nope. At almost 4 years I still long for every moment in his arms. Though I enjoy spending time with friends and others, when mr awesome is not near me I count the minutes until he is. When I am sad or stressed or angry, nothing comes close to the comfort I feel when he wraps me up in his arms like a burrito and holds me.
Well one thing does... the peace that transcends all understanding.
I consider myself weak. I have big eyes and a small stomach. I have high hopes but I tremble with fear at the idea of them. Little things can be a big effort for me as I fight the fear that paralyzes. With Christ, I am strong. With Christ WE are strong. With the peace that transcends all understanding... we are unstoppable.
We are held. Not just held, but upheld in the righteous right hand of the king of kings. In times of loss when we feel this peace, and we know we are held, that is our strength.
So today as we mourn a loss, we are also experiencing this sense of peace. I feel held. In the way that my husband wraps me up in a burrito exemplifying his savior, I feel the Lord doing that for me today. And I know, even when I don't feel held, its only because I am closing my eyes to his touch.
And so we thank the Lord and remember all that He has done and IS doing for us.
Real quick appointment and we were out of there in less than 15 minutes. Woot CIS! Now just send us that updated letter!