Thursday, December 20, 2012

Whats in a name...

One thing I have always been fascinated with is names and their meanings. I was so excited to learn that names, who gives them and what they mean, are a high priority in Ethiopian culture. Because our boys were both "found" and not relinquished, we don't know who named them. What usually happens is the one who finds them or the police officer who does the paperwork gives the babies a name. Our boys names that they were given are Filipos and Mesfin.

Soon after we were married, Ryan was reading the word and said, 'Hey, lets name a son Josiah. He was an awesome follower of God who chose to follow at a young age.' I had always liked that name, so before we even knew anything about our little boys, we had a dream that we would have a Josiah. The meaning is "God will Save". How absolutely perfect that God DID save him... He caused his mother to put him in a place where he would be found, and God showed His power by saving him.

We realized that we might been given two boys, so we needed to come up with two names (we have a girl name, but that one we will save until God blesses us with a little girl someday!). We thought through all kinds of options and finally came to pick Daniel. Ryan has a Grandpa Dan, and he is a godly man who has served the lord through his lifetime, and its an honor to give that name to our son as well. The Daniel from the b;ble was also one who chose to follow God at a young age and so both of us sons have stories from the word about making a choice to follow G when they were young. This is our pra-yer for their lives as well.

Daniel Ryan sounded good and it seemed appropriate to give one of them their daddy's name. Then when we got his referral pic, his Ethiopian name was Mesfin. yes, I laughed. If you would have told me a few years ago that I would have a son named Mesfin, i would have not believed you! haha! While in Ethiopia, I asked around to find out what Mesfin means. Turns out it means "In the Kings Family." Ryan also means "Descendant of the King" WOW! So we kept all three names. And we really started to like Mesfin! The nannies LOVE him... and say "Mesfin, MESFIN!" all the time, so when we were with them, we started nicknaming him "Messi". But Baby Dan is our favorite name for him!

Josiah James also sounded good. James is my brother Philip's first name (which he does not go by), and so it seemed like it would be giving him a family name too. Then his Ethiopian name is Filipos! so the Ethiopian version of none other than Philip! Again, WOW! So it would just be right to keep Filipos... such a cute spelling of the name too. When I asked what this name means, people would just say, "oh, its a b;ble name." I knew that! haha! It could mean that whoever found him was Orthadox. I love thinking about the story of Philip and the Ethiopian who just needed someone to explain to him the truth and Philip was there at the right time. I hope our little Filipos will want to serve G in that way too. We like to call him Joshi (with a long O sound) It seems to fit him!

Since the moment I saw these little faces, I have just been overwhelmed with the grace of G to save such perfect little men, and that he is entrusting them to us!!! Ryan asked me when was it that we decided that we wanted two kids instead of one... He looked back at the emails sent to our agency, and turns out... it was May 21. That's the day that we think Josiah James Filipos was born. WOW! And Daniel was born a few weeks later on June 6th... and that night G woke me up to pr for our baby, even though I didn't know what I was really pr-ying for, G worked in amazing ways to save our boys, and I am so honored to be a part of their lives. More than any name we could give them, we want them to always know that their greatest identity is as children of the King. We are called by HIS name and that's what makes our worth.

  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

shared suffering...

I was touched by a quote today, and I just had to blog about it. The professional singer, Aaron Ivey, said it in a sermon:

The call of orphan care is not a call to simply "save the orphan". The call of orphan care is to share in the suffering of the orphan. It's to intentionally position yourself, your family, your community, to suffer alongside the orphan. To say, 'Your suffering, is now my suffering. Your story, is now my story. I willingly position myself to suffer alongside you.'

(the whole sermon is worth listening to if you have time)

But I have been sitting here thinking about our "suffering" because of the fact that we can't be with our boys right now. They are a thousand miles away, and although I feel them right in my heart, I can't feel their little hands holding mine. I hear their little laughs ringing through my memories (and on our videos of them) but they don't hear my voices saying "Momma Loves You". It is all because of sin. That makes adoption hard. Some people ahead of us have done horrible things and it has forced more "hoops" to jump through to protect the kids. We have gladly done all that was asked of us, knowing its just what is required. And really, the joy they bring outweighs the pain it causes!

And this is just the beginning. Because they are so small, they will have less "baggage" than some kids who have been in more difficult situations. They will not remember when they were abandoned, but I don't ever want them to worry that it might happen again. I want them to know that we will ALWAYS love them and we were called to stay with them in a forever family. Their suffering... being alone and confused.... is our suffering. Waiting to be united. They may not realize there is anything going on! They know us, but not in the way that we know them. We care for them deeply and LONG to be with them, and they are happy to simply eat, sleep, and play. We know that ahead is lots of fun and the blessings of family and all that entails, but they don't have any idea what that will look like. It's the same with the love that God has for us. His love for us is SO fierce and yet gentle. It stands through the worst storm, and reaches out to undeserving sinners like us. We can't imagine this kind of love... even though He tries to show us, we often don't listen and like a proud child, assume we can figure this life thing out on our own. We don't care for Him like he cares for us... But he chose to suffer not only with us, but FOR us. Our story is forever HIS story.

We will have things come up as the boys grow... they will know from the beginning how much God loves them and that we were blessed that he chose to give them to us... but there will be days that the differences in our skin color or heritage confuse them and they will wonder why did their birth mom not "want" them. This will be part of Ryan and my story. We will tell them HOW MUCH GOD LOVES THEM... and that they were birthed by a woman who loved them enough to have them, and then to leave them in a place where they would be found by someone who could care for them... and God wanted them to become Rainbolts! He wanted to put some lonely boys in a family (Ps 68:6) and to fill our home with children (Ps 113:9). Our story is not written by me... It is written by the author of history and creator of the greatest love story every told, and I can't wait to see what the next chapter holds. I am forever grateful that our story includes a cross, an empty tomb, a loving family who told me about HIM, friends who keep me going when I am ready to quit, cross-cultural daily life and all that comes with living in India, a husband who keeps life full of laughter, and two precious Ethiopians who have stolen my heart and made me a momma. What a joy to serve a God who can write THIS kind of story!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

these days...

I would like to think that in the next three months, I will be able to daily check everything off my "to-do" list and get everything done, and then life can get a bit more complicated when the boys come home. But life is not that simple. The last few weeks in South Asia have been somewhat insane. The biggest festival of the year, Diwali was last week... and the fire crackers are STILL going off. (They really love the loud ones that shake the windows.) I would plan to get together with friends, but it would have to be postponed because of Diwali and needing family time. Then there was a political party founder/leader who died and the whole city enforced mourning that lasted for two days. There was no food shops open! If you had not stocked up, you could not feed your family! (thankfully I have somewhat of a hoarding issue when it comes to my kitchen... not really, but we were fine) They even blocked the movie channels on the TV, no taxis were on the roads. It was the most eerie quiet I have ever heard in this loud city of constant motion. And again, people planned on coming over, but the lack of transportation made it impossible. Church was even cancelled. You know its for real if they do that!

So here I am. I woke up with a bad crick in my neck and can hardly turn to the left. But I want to check things off my list. I want to be used by the lord. I have my long (and unattainable) list that in my imagination I can get done on a day before I have the boys home.... but I have to remember that I live in South Asia. And things don't go on MY timeline. I can plan stuff, but it does not mean it will work out. I can try to get Christmas decorations, but they don't put them out in stores until the week before Christmas (And I heard Wal-mart had them out before November!) I did make stockings, which were really easy and quite fulfilling! I had the dilemma of writing "Sarah" or "Mommy". I went with Sarah since that is still my main identity, and it will be three or four years before the boys can read them and by then we will make new stockings and I can write Mommy on it then if I want. They look better in person, but made with ALL south asian materials... Thankful for a good textile market!



And with thinking how to get things done, I have to come to the realization again that my worth and identity is not based on my check list or really my performance on anything, but it lies only in the grace given me by my father. He can use this simple, yet willing girl with a muscle spasm and because it will be obvious that I could not have done it on my own. He will get the glory instead of me. and that's what I really want. I want Him to tell me what to write on my "to-do" list and to let me know its ok if I don't get it accomplished in one day.

We are still waiting on a letter to finalize our court for our adoption. The fact that it has taken over 20 days is rough. We really are hoping that today is the day. Every "bing" on the computer, Ryan and I check to see if its the email that we are waiting for... Other people have gotten there letter, so we know it is coming which is comforting. We just trust that God already knows the time that we will bring our boys into our home... They already fill our days with joy and love. We watch videos of them over and over! I want to trust not only IN him, but TRUST HIM! I found a quote on pinterest that was exactly what I needed.



I had some new photos from some who were just at our boys care center... and it was the FIRST time I have seen Josiah smile for anyone other than US.... It made my day! When I left him there after loving on him and giving him undivided attention for 10 days (and this little guy LOVES attention! He is 100% extroverted!) He looked at me as I put him back in his crib where almost all of his life has happened and I know, he's too little to really think this, but I he gave me a look that was questioning... Like, he wondered why his nanny was back, and he was here instead of with me and daddy and his new brother. He had been "talking" and laughing and constantly making noise, but there, he was silent and laid there sucking his favorite two fingers. I know. Its a stretch. But I felt extra sad leaving him there. But seeing that he did smile again made my heart soar! I KNOW the nannies love them... They cried when I took them with me for 10 days! And they cried more at seeing me leave them without them then even I did at that moment. SO thankful for love like that.




Saturday, November 10, 2012

the next step

I really don't want to write this, but I know its necessary. Just in case you don't know how Ethiopian adoption works these days, it takes two trips to get your little ones home, so we did our first trip, fell in LOVE with our little men, and now we are home. In an empty-ish house. waiting. and waiting. LONGING for the day we are a forever family, but this is the long, hard, dry season. or maybe its a snowy winter. its for sure not the summer sun where everything is perfect. and its not the rain where we feel blessings pouring. But I KNOW that God does not want me to wallow in my sadness of leaving the boys. I can't help but think about them everyday. ache to be with them. to see their expressive faces once again, knowing they save their best smiles for momma. I want to be able to move deeper in my love for my Jesus, but also my babies. I know that Jesus loves my babies even more than I do... he created them before I knew who they were and they are so precious to him... and the more I fall in love with Jesus, the more I fall in love with my boys. but somewhere in my deepest heart, i feel bitterness trying to root. It says how unfair this process is, and how I have a right to be mad at the policies, or the people that have done wrong to make a more through process and two trips necessary, and even at God for not letting it work out quicker. but i want to fight that bitterness so it will not root in me! I don't want to be bitter at Ethiopia... it gave me the two most beautiful babies! And the wrongs people have done (unethical practices: i.e. baby "buying" or trafficking and abuse) these are a part of our world because its no longer eden.... we live in a fallen world and there no escaping it. and most of all, I don't want to be bitter at God. He did not create us to live in resentment or anger or bitterness. He wants us to walk in JOY and LOVE and PEACE...

its not natural for a momma to have to leave her babies across the world... its not natural for a daddy to have not control over the protection and provision of his little men. its hard. no candy coating it. but here we are. and what to do? give it back to the only one who is in control and holding our little men when we can't. and He will make sure they are protected and provided for even better than we can.

I asked Him this morning, "what do you want to do with me during this time? I know its not for me to just sit back and sadly just wait until our next trip and THEN life can begin again..." and I just knew that there is so much that He wants me to learn and grow deeper with Him in. Since the beginning of this process, I knew it was NOT about growing our family, but about me and HIM growing closer to together. And its not been easy. And i don't see it getting easier. But its so sweet. I love how Jesus doesn't give us what we ask for... at least in the way that we expect him to... I asked for a baby, and for 2 1/2 years, his answer seemed to be no. and it was hard. bitterness tried to root then too! And out of HIS grace, we NOW have 2 boys! The cutest EVER! and I would have never met them if God had given me my first request... and there would be two more orphans with out a family. and in the rest of the process I need to continue to trust that just like He has had His hand on everything... He will continue to have His hand on everything. I was just drinking my coffee and a song came into my head, "All this pain, i wonder if i'll ever find my way. i wonder if my life could really change at all...." "you make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust, you make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us." "all around hope is springing up from this old ground, out of chaos life is being found in me"

I want the Lord to make me into a beautiful thing... for HIS glory and to make this waiting not just something we look back on and wish we had done some things differently... or how we could have done so much more... I want there to be hope springing up in the dry ground of life around us. and I want to be useful and not just waiting. but some times, just taking the next step out the door takes all the strength that I have. this is good... its when sarah ends that the Lord begins... and somedays i run out of me sooner than others. But we try to take one more step again... and then again...

We don't want the rainbolt house to ever be a depressing place... we want people to come in and feel the spirit of the Lord there. So even while we wait... and celebrate the next few holidays without these cute faces with us... we want it to be filled with Joy, Hope, and the expectancy of what the next few months hold and what the Lord can do with us while we wait!

Monday, November 5, 2012

the moment

The long overdue blogpost... We made it too Ethiopia... and we are with our babies... and life could not be better!

Our trip was/is filled with perfect moments... and I so rarely use that word, it feels weird, but there is nothing else that describes it... perfectly.
We went to Starbucks in India (the first one!) and it was so fun to get the perfect vanilla latte. Then we finished up our packing and hoped we had all we needed for ourselves and our babies and headed to the airport.
We sat there and waited, almost giddy, until our flight left late at night. We slept on the way, knowing when we arrived at 8am and went to our babies they were not going to be very understanding of our sleep deprivation!

As we flew near to the city, it all of a sudden hit me, "you are about to be a mom... and meet the precious treasures that God entrusts us with!" The music started playing some classical lullabies and as we got closer, the mountains and a green domed Orthodox church comes into view, and it took my breath away. I was shrugging back tears so no one would think me crazy, but I just knew I was walking  in the presence of the Lord. He had guided us to this point and we were so amazed. We got off the plane, found our luggage and headed the short trip to the guesthouse and then the care center.

We knocked on the gate and the nanny who answered was our boys nanny, Aberesh, and we knew her name and it shocked her so much she almost cried! We were so thankful for those who had taken pictures of her and our babies before so we knew her name. She is a special lady who pretty much gives her life to take care of orphans until their families come. It has to take a calling to do that. We walked into a big room with lots of babies and other nannies, but we knew our boys were in the next room. We waited while they got them ready... and we walked in.... there are no words to describe what we were going through at this moment. We saw Daniel first... his little face is very distinctive! Ryan got to hold him first and we were both on the verge of tears at this point. Within a few glances, Daniel smiled at Ryan and our heart both melted, we were head over heals in love with him. Then I looked around the room and I saw my handsome Josiah looking back at me. I jumped over and picked him up amazed at the Faithfulness of my Father to orchestrate such a perfect moment just for us. We were the only family at the care center that day and after taking a few pictures, we found out what formula to buy and went on our way, babies in tow. Their nannies almost cried watching them leave, even though it would only be for 10 days. They invest in these babies and its hard to see them go.

At the guest house, we started to know our boys and see what makes them smile and how and when they like their bottles. It was not until almost bed time that we heard the most precious sound, their laughter! Daniel and I were sitting together and I rubbed noses with him and he started to laugh. It was just a minute until his whole body was shaking he was so tickled! Josiah also loves his "Eskimo kisses" and this momma's heart was beyond full!

I know what it means now when it says of Mary, "She treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" Luke 2:19. I can only imagine what the next few months of waiting will hold, but I know that I will be pondering the treasures of my boys. I want to use even the hard days to give all the glory to God, and I think Mary had the same mindset. I think she knew that Jesus' life would not be easy or perfect and she knew that she needed to not take any moment for granted. I will share my list, maybe on a day that I need to remember the boys and their sweet mannerisms... but for now PRESENTING:



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Four days!!!!!

I can count how long before we go to Ethiopia on ONE HAND!!!! Four days... OH YEAH!!!! I just think about them and my heart melts and aches at the same time. Adoption. Everything about this process has made me more thankful for the love that the Father has for us... that he adopted us as his sons and daughters when we were not worthy. His love for us FAR exceeds ours, and I am just so blessed to be known as HIS daughter! i think about our boys and I just want to sing REALLY LOUD, dance all around, and rejoice in the goodness of OUR FATHER! Then in the next moment, my heart just yearns to be with them and I get a tear in my eyes thinking about how far away they are, and how long the next few months are going to be as we wait, and wait, and wait. One of my friends said she told her kids about our boys and they run around the house excitedly chanting their names. I said Ryan and I do that too! Baby Dan, JoJo!

I am so thankful to have such loving, praying supporters and I ask that you keep on... lift Ryan and I up as we wait and continue to serve knowing that half of our family is waiting in a small room in Ethiopia! I feel like I am about to have the BEST 10 days of my life "playing house" in a hotel room with our precious littles, and then I start thinking about leaving them there and I want to just cry. I have to say, one of my friends said it best as she is also waiting for her little men,

"I wonder how much of this I'll remember. If this season will just be some miserable little blur in our history, or if I'll look back and treasure what the Lord was doing inside of me in the months that felt like years before the LIFETIME with my boys began."

She said what my heart wanted to but didn't have the words. Now we wait. and let the Lord do His work in our hearts. and we love. and we have the time of our lives in Ethiopia!!!!

Josiah, oh my little JoJo... I cannot wait to hold your little hands and kiss your little cheeks and sing you to sleep in my arms. I have been waiting for you for a long, long time, and knowing that you are waiting for me makes me happy, even though i would rather just be with you instead of waiting any more time. I can't wait to see your personality and play cars with you. I long to teach about Jesus and how good He is to us, and to show you how His love for you is far more than Momma's, and her love for you is HUGE!

Daniel, our sweet Baby Dan.... I want to pinch your cute little chin and measure how big your feet are... Daddy is going to be the first one to hold you and I am going to catch it all on video!!!!  I hope you will smile for us and give us some funny faces as well! I can't wait to cuddle and help you to learn how to sit up and crawl.I want to teach you to love Jesus and to live your life for Him. You were rescued by Him, and He wants you to walk in the light of life. Momma loves you way more than you will ever know...

We prayed for a child, and God heard our prayers and we are SO glad that he picked YOU BOTH to be our sons! We are blessed beyond measure...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

9 days!!!

So the countdown has officially begun! It is only 9 days til we will be holding our little men. Oh HOW we look forward to that!!! We have been spending our free time out collecting toys, clothes, diapers, bottles... anything we might need as well as lots of donations to give to the care center. There are lots of older children that I know will actually be excited to get a new pair of shoes. Our boys are too little to care about shoes, they don't actually need them since they won't walk for quite a while... so I stopped looking in the baby shoes and moved up to older kid shoes! I cannot wait to meet some of the kids that are waiting for a family and play with them in the care center. I have seen some pictures and videos of others who have gone and the kids are so cheerful and playful and looking for attention and affection. I am so blessed that I can be there for a few days and share the love of the Father with them. Even though we will speak different languages, the love of the lord is greater than any language barrier.

We found some precious WASHABLE stuffed animals today and i cannot wait to see J hug his giraffe and D to hug his monkey! So much fun ahead!                      















We also just sent a package to America... they want it to be "parceled" and sewn around the box your stuff is in. After the sew it up, they you have to write the address with a sharpie on the material. Its so funny to me that India wants things to be all closed up to let you send, it, but I don't know if American customs likes having to go to more trouble to check the contents in customs. oh well.

We voted! We were proud citizens and turned our absentee ballots in at the US consulate and enjoyed the voting party there with mini burgers and sugar cookies with a flag painted on them! And of course they gave us a "I VOTED!" sticker. We even made the Indian news: If you would like to watch the clip click here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Court date!!!!

Oh. My. Goodness. We have our tickets to Ethiopia IN HAND! well, technically they are still on the computer, but I know my husband... He will print them out soon and put them in his travel folder with all the passports and documents needed for travel! We are still in a bit of shock at how FAST things have gone. We keep expecting something to be as long as what is projected... but so far things have just gone bam bam bam. WOOHOO! Our court date is Oct 31, and we head there on the 27th to start loving on them. We are so ready.... bring it on! I actually already have my baby backpack all packed with diapers, wipes, baby lotion and soap, clothes, medicines, and everything else I think we might need for a week with babies. I am excited to go out to the store today and get the stuff that we can bring to donate to the care center where our boys are! I love shopping and buying baby stuff has got to be some of my favorite things to buy! We also get to help some of the other older kids who are waiting on families and bring them so shoes and clothes. Thankfully we have a great market here where I can get them (fake) crocs for just under a dollar!
It is crazy to think in about two weeks, we will be loving on our little men! All I can do is just GIVE ALL THE PRAISE TO GOD! seriously! He has guided us step by step and have felt his leading us all the way. We are so looking forward to seeing the country where our boys were born (as well as seeing them). We love traveling to new places, and learning about their culture and trying new foods. We are so lucky that we have a quick flight from here to there... 5 hours no layovers! Thank you Ethiopian Air!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

reflections on one year...

So this last week marked our first year as a couple in South Asia! It has been a year of amazing cool opportunities and one marked with difficulties and struggles. We are so thankful to be settled in our place with friends and opportunities for service popping up all around us. Here are a few of my little favorite things about South Asia:

You can buy the "trial" size of ANYTHING! A ketchup packet size of shampoo for $0.05...  $0.10 worth of cookies or chips...one battery at a time. You name it, you can find is smaller.

Bottled water has become common, and a liter bottle is $0.30

I have a sewing machine and I bought extra bobbins for $0.10 and a pack of ten machine needles for $0.30! I was so impressed!

Many things can be delivered to your door Cash on Delivery. Never would have thought it was that cool until you realize you don't want to put your credit card number to a not so secure website... or all the American cards don't work right...  I can get meat, diapers, toys, books, eggs and bread!

We have learned that our car can fit in much tighter spaces than we ever imagined in America!

Conversations and Chai with friends are highly valued!

More than anyTHING that I like about South Asia, it is the people that I love the most! I see their faces and I feel such love and admiration for them... knowing how hard life can be for many people here, and yet they smile easily and laugh alot. They are also so giving and hospitable...

I love lots of things here, and although there are lots of things I miss about home, I find such peace in knowing that I am supposed to be here.  I miss running to Walmart or Target and being able to get 7 different items. Here, I might have to go to three different markets, and 10 stores to find the same 7 things I could find in Target! haha! Time is stretchable here and things go at a different pace than home, but I am learning to appreciate that! I rarely wear a watch, and no one seems to care if I am 15 minutes "late".

One of my highlights of this last year has been of course our PRECIOUS LITTLE MEN... and even though they are still waiting for us in ET, we show their pictures off proudly! I carry my ipad to church just to show off all the little pictures and we have been overwhelmed by the love that our friends have poured out over our babies~ Adoption is not a common practice here... and skin color is a big prejudice here and we were interested to see how our friends would respond to our little African boys. So far, everyone has just said such positive things about them and they ask about them all the time. I can only imagine how life is going to change with those little guys. They have already changed our world! When we go out shopping, I don't look at stuff for me anymore... I hang out in the baby section and imagine how cute they will look in green or brown or orange. And I am stocking up on diapers and bottles!

I am so grateful to have spent this past year here... and I look forward to what G has in store for us over the next however many years He has us live here!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Court Submission!

Wow... Our boys file was submitted to court this week. It is amazing and hard to believe that it has happened so fast. The ethiopian courts close for their rainy season and even though I don't think that  the judge is working and taking cases yet, at least we were able to get our foot in the door and hopefully in the next few weeks we will know when our court date is and we will book our tickets to Ethiopia! I can hardly wait. Imagining the joy my heart will feel when i first get to see our babies is amazing... I am just so grateful to know that our agency is doing all the paperwork and trying to get it done quickly...
I have a few new songs that have been on "repeat" in my head. One is "i get to be the one" by jj heller. "Don't feel alone now, little baby. Do you hear me singing you a song? I can't wait to show you, little baby, how to crawl, how to walk, how to run. I get to be the one to hold your hand. I get to be the one, through birthdays and broken bones i'll be there to watch you grow. I get to be the one. How does sommeone so small, hold my heart so tightly? I don't even know you, i love you completely. I get to be the one."
I just walk around thinking how amazing it is that Ryan and I get to be the ones who raise Josiah and Daniel. Oh the joy. Can't wait to post here when we get our TRAVEL DATES!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

creative threapy....

Adoption is just such a precious, SPECIAL JOY and Ryan and I are still overjoyed that God wants us to help guide and grow two of His precious babies... but this waiting part... its no fun. Yeah, I know... we don't have to worry about getting woken up in the night, or spend hours making two babies bottles, or cleaning up after them, or make a weekly doctor visit for the never ending earaches.... but that does not make it easier. One hard thing to think is that right now, our boys don't know us. They will not see us and come crawling over to us yet. But we know them. We SO LOVE them! And we know the ONE who knows them intimately better than anyone else ever will! We look at our pictures of them and study every little detail. We look at their little fingernails, remark how big their feet are, and we even talk to their little faces saying, "Don't cry little guys... Momma and Daddy are coming... we just have to wait a little while longer." We pray for them everyday, ALL throughout the day. And we dream of them at night, longing for the moment that we are united. But what is a mom to do while she sits back and waits as another kisses our babies goodnight; as others give them their bottles, and makes them learn to laugh and explore the world? How do you learn to wait until the awesome day when we are together as a "forever family"? Well, I find that if I use my time wisely, I am able to not just make it through the days, but I am fulfilled and energized to do even more things for the kingdom even while I am waiting. And I spend alot of time just sitting at my Jesus' feet giving him ALL my worries and trusting him to put the right people in J and D's lives until the day that he puts us together.

Sewing is something I always did with my mom growing up and I am so thankful that God put some special ladies in my life to teach me how to quilt right before we came to India. I had picked out some way cute fabric while we were in Thailand back in March, and I found some Indian coordinating prints. I told myself that I could not start them until we got a referral so the fabric was stuck away in a cabinet until the BEST day... August 29th, when we were given our two precious little men. I made Baby Dan's quilt Blue, and Josiah's Green. I used totally different patterns for each of them, but i have been really enjoying getting on Pinterest to see what cool new ideas I can find to sew the perfect quilt! Sewing for them gives me time to pray for them, makes me feel like I am doing something for them! and it serves as a great creative therapy to help me give all my worries and concerns to the Lord as I sew away on their little quilts. I have hit a few bumps along the way with getting the quilts lined up and I was so sad when my quilting buddies were not around to help me figure out how to fix my mistakes. But that's the way life is sometimes... and we learn how to make do with what we have. They are not finished yet... just to the part where I actually quilt and then the binding, but here is the progress!

I also have been making these cute little fuzzy blankets for all the other littles' in my life. Ryan and I get to nephews over the next months, and we are so thankful that the Lord has given our little men some boy cousins! I know they will LOVE them and be excited to play all kinds of games with them! These blankets are way fun to make and you get to not only sew, but cut and "rough up" the fluffy side to make them soft.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

ultimate provider...

So, can I just say how GREAT IS OUR GOD!?!! I am still in awe that He has given us two precious boys. Thinking though what He has given us just makes me want to fall on my knees in worship of the MOST HIGH! I feel like I have been given way more grace than I deserve to persevere through this process of adoption. The less I worry, the more God amazes me with His provision for us.

Gen. 50:21
So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

And I feel like I have found a place to just rest in this assurance. That's so amazing. The "Sarah" part of me wants to freak out and beg for help or complain about how hard and crazy this thing called adoption is... and the $20,000 dollars that is due when you accept a referral of two kids, not to mention that the total cost is estimated to be about $38,000 should have thrown me into a crazy cycle! But it didn't. I know that was God giving me peace that only can be described as from Him. And in just the right times he has provided for us. A few weeks ago, we were BLESSED with a huge grant from JSC Foundation... $16,000! That morning, I texted a friend that we got a grant, and as I typed it, the gravity of that many zero's overwhelmed me. WOW!

We had an interview with another grant agency called Katelyn's Fund, and it was so encouraging. They just wanted to hear about us and our lives and how they could help and pray for us. It was a group of the board members and they all went around and prayed for us. I have no idea what any of these people look like, but I saw the face of Christ through their words and I was moved to tears hearing others who have a heart for orphans and are willing to give of their free time to pray for families and to help provide them financial assistance. We got off the phone and I was just so blessed for the rest of the day! Then, on Wednesday we received our referrals... and that $20,000 was needed... The $16,000 was there along with $1250 from friends and family, and it was down to where we needed $2,750 more. Ryan and I were getting ready for bed, and didn't want to spend the night worrying about money, so we just prayed and went to sleep, resting in the Lord's provision. (it's really hard to have a bad day right now. We just look at pictures of our little men, and we can't help but SMILE!) We woke up to that grant company sending an email, sooner than we expected to hear from them, saying that they want to give us $3,000! I just laughed and rejoiced in the provision of our King. He even gave us $250 extra!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Joy of a lifetime!!!!

So this adoption is continuing to teach me more and more about waiting on HIM... and this week, we were totally surprised at God's quick answer to our waiting for the next step! Completely unexpectedly, we were called and asked if we would be willing to take the next two boys that were up for referral! um... YEAH! We had said we wanted two, but boys or girls did not matter. I had felt in my deepest mommy heart that there were some brothers out there somewhere who needed a momma to keep them in line;) and when they send us their little pictures, we could not help but shed some tears of JOY.... wow. I honestly don't think it has really hit me yet, but when I look at their faces and imagine what men they will become, I am overwhelmed and I can't stop smiling! It is still maybe 4 months til we get to meet them... and then more waiting for another 4 months after that waiting on all the paperwork... but just knowing they are out there... its so surreal and exciting! I just can't stop praising the LORD! The boys are maybe a few weeks apart and were found in different places, but they are meant to be brothers! They are 2 1/2 and 3 months maybe... and they really are some of the MOST BEAUTIFUL little guys Ryan and I have ever seen. They are tiny but they have smiled and respond to noise and follow an object with their eyes. After we go finalize the adoption, there will be a multitude of pics on here! until then, you can trust us that these guys are some really amazing little creations of our Lord. We are so humbled that the Lord wants to entrust some of his greatest treasures with us, and even though they are not here with us yet, they sure are in spirit! and we long for the day we will meet and they will be our forever family! Josiah and Daniel, we LOVE YOU BABIES! You are the sweetest and we can't wait to hug you!

Smells

I love amazing smells... like fresh pumpkin, apple cider, vanilla nut coffee... Fall smells are the BEST! So, its rainy season here, which makes me think it should be fall already. The weather is a bit cooler and the rain keeps the humidity down for a while, so I am living it up. Unfortunately, Rainy season comes with a lot of smells, most of them not so good! I was riding in the crowded train thinking, "wow. How deodorant would revolutionize this place!" I was still walking around thinking how I could change this place and how at least my home smells of all the fall goodness... (through my Scentsy's and fall baking) I started thinking that I was a better person because I wear deodorant and I know what a good smell SHOULD be. and the Lord ever so gently reminded me of something... When he sees and smells south asia, He does not judge on the outside, but he looks at the hearts, and he LONGS for them to come to Him no matter what they smell like! It was like he said, "I love that smell... i MADE that smell..." He loves the dirty babies on the side of the road, He loves the hardworking man with grease under his nails, He loves the mother who has not had a bath in two weeks. I just forget sometimes that God doesn't expect us to come to Him after we are all cleaned up... he takes us, dirt and all. Smelly and grimy, like a loving father he cleans us up for HIS glory.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

without pollution

I went for a nice walk out in the wonderfully "sticky" part of the day. I needed to run some errands, and I thought why not walk the few miles instead of taking public transit. Well, just as soon as I was almost there, the sticky weather ended when the clouds broke open and I got to experience monsoon first hand. I can't complain, I love rain, but it is funny when you go in to get your groceries and your hair is creating a puddle around the peaches.
James (you know, the one from the Good book) really has a way of convicting, assuring, and inspiring one to action. One of my favorite new verses is James 1:27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." As an adopting mother, I really LOVE the first part of the verse, (I will care for whatever orphans God puts in our path!) but the second part has deep truth as well. What is keeping oneself from being polluted by the world? Well, think about pollution. Being in one of the most populated cities in the world in a country where no one seems to care about the environment, I am surrounded by world pollution. It is everywhere. And let me tell you, it is not great. The smell can be so much that you almost choke. Here is Beth Moore's question I LOVE: "How on earth do we serve in the world without smelling like it?" I pondered this on my walk today, and as I was running to get out of the rain, I was reminded that no matter how much you try, there is no way to stay completely "clean" if we are going to go out and serve. But what a blessing to know the One who can truly clean us up at the end of the day, and the more dirt, the more He will wipe away. I want to hear well done, good and faithful one, and if that means some days when I arrive home, I have nothing but worn, blistered feet and dirt under my nails, I am willing. Beth Moore goes on to say, "Living this way requires serious disciple and determination. With courage and deep conviction. You don't live this kind of life accidentally. You make up your mind who you want to be and daily die to the rest. You surrender yourself to living in the tension where you'll always be stretched and often be broken." That is the kind of life I want.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Joy...

One thing that the past few years that God is teaching me is about finding Joy in the midst of trials. Tears started as I watched the Beth Moore James video. What hit me the most was her clear statement about our anguish morphing into Joy. "The thing that was your heart-ache or horror, becomes the very thing that is so precious we can't imagine Life without it.... Only a redeemer can do that!" Man, that gets me so excited to press on and see what the LORD will do to turn our heart ache and anguish into JOY.
So adoption update- we cleared USCIS! This is the document that states that we are allowed to bring an orphan into our home, and to become a US citizen since they will be our legal kids! no, we still don't have a child matched with us yet, and no, we still don't know when we will travel, or when we can bring them home, but we will take whatever victories the Lord wants to give us! We are just jumping for joy that this cleared. In hind sight, we had nothing to fear, but we were worried that they might not clear us since we have Katie living in our home with us. She grew up in a orphanage in the foothills of the Himalayas, and a folded up paper written in Nepali was the only proof she had of her birth... Getting her the official documents and school registration cards has been a task, but it was all finished just before we went to turn in our paperwork. We had been warned there was a possibility that without more documents on Katie we might not pass. There just really nothing more that we could do but to trust the Lord. I had been lifting up the request that if they were going to need more info on her that we could not get, (it could mean that she would have to get a new place to live) that the Father would take His hand and cover her name so that it would not become a problem for any of us. I feel strongly that He did just that because I really am shocked that we passed so fast! It was less than a month, and they estimated that it would take 2 -3 months, (and this is South Asia!) But the Lord was good and let us not have to worry about it ANYMORE!!!!! All Glory to HIM!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Seekers...

It started with feeling sorry for myself. Ryan and I miss some things about America and baseball has to be our "favorite pass time". We spent the first few years of our marriage going to game after game, keeping up on the radio with the ones that we couldn't attend, and knowing all the stats! So this morning was the All Star game on our TV! We were SO EXCITED! It was at 5am, but we brewed our coffee, turned on our living room AC and snuggled up for a fun game. We caught the pregame, teared up at the national anthem, and saw the first pitch. On the second pitch, the cable cut out. Are you kidding me? We waited for a while, and nothing. By 6, I started calling the cable company but no one answered (yeah, I know, if it was me, I would not answer the phone 6am either!) We had some other stuff to do, so we started working on it with a bad attitude about how horrible our life is over here. Then we called my family, complaining about how hard life is- regarding little things- like the cable. Mom told me to go in the other room and talk just us. No husbands. She asked the deep questions that you know in your heart of hearts you LONG for someone to ask, but also greatly fear. You know that dreaded feeling that someone is about to see the gritty and dirty places in your heart. But I was so desperate for someone to care. I am always so afraid they will see the worst and leave and not notice how the Lord is redeeming this selfish heart into one that beats only for Him. So Mom listened and pulled out of me what was really the heart of the issue. Life is hard. There is no way around it. But God is Good. All the time. There is no escaping that either! WOW! That's comforting. But how to find peace in the middle of life's little struggles? As humans we want to be heard and understood, and being in a different culture surrounded by a language my mother never spoke to me is really a challenge some days.

So about the feeling sorry for myself. I moped for a bit and then realized I NEEDED some time with my maker. I went to the piano keyboard and started playing and singing the first thing that popped in my head. "Lord we want to know you, Live our lives to show you, All the love we owe you, we're seekers of your heart. Until we give you first place, until we let you begin- to fill us with your spirit, renew us from within. Nothing matters, nothing's gained. Without your holy presence our lives are lived in vain." Wow. I searched it out in the new Bapt'st hymnal and played it through in that key, and looked at the song on the next page. "We are an offering" Seems so easy right? "We lift our voices, we lift our hands, We lift our lives up to you, we are an offering." Really? I can lift my voice all day. I can raise my hands with the best of them! But this lifting our lives, that's where the challenge lies. And it has to be that HE is in first place. Until then, nothing matters. The last thing on earth I want to do is live in vain. Man, if this gos'pel were not true, I would be living in my perfect house with a picket fence and I would speak only in English, have Tivo, chocolate chip cookies for every meal, and spend my days crafting new things off pinterest. But it IS REAL, and we are called to share that reality with others. To sacrifice our lives for the cause of the gosp'el. That's where we find the true purpose for our lives. Today, still feeling a bit sorry for myself, I felt like I understand a bit of what Paul meant when he said that we are allowed to share in his sufferings. Then I went to Philippians and realized how FAR I have to go to really understand suffering. "I want to know Chri'st and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death." (phil. 3:10) I stopped in my tracks. Like him in his death. wow. And I am mad about a game and a few things that make life hard? My friends, what a blessed savior we serve who understands those deep places in our hearts. Who knows all our faults and our mistakes, and yet, he STILL LOVES US?! That seems like a crazy kind of love to me. And yeah, I am so, SO thankful that this crazy love God, loves me. And that he does consider me worthy to share in the fellowship of his suffering, even in small ways, all for the sake of the gosp'el. So for today, even when I spent a good share of it moping around, I found what I can do to live my life as a offering. To Seek His HEART. Search out what it means to be called HIS OWN. To be intimate with the only one who really understands me. I can't wait to see what that kind of fellowship with him that it holds, and how that can spill out of me so others can see the goodness of the Lord.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chi Can

Some things are just worth sharing! Every time this commercial comes on the TV, I laugh! (which is sad because I have seen it too many times already, and I still find it funny!) This South Asian guy is going on "vacation" in a more eastern Asian country and does not know how to ask for what he wants. It reminds me how important it is to understand the culture where you are and how to ask what you are looking for... which is LANGUAGE! We are so blessed to have had so much time learning language and now we understand everything that is going on around us, and we have intelligent conversations in Hindi! All by the grace of the only one who gives it.... Enjoy the commercial!



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How GREAT!

There are days that I remember why I am here, and days that I forget. I was a bit more on the forgetful side this morning with the internet not working and the heat and the long list of to do's for the day, but this song was all the reminder of what I needed. They start out in "our" country in the extremely familiar auto rickshaws, involve a choir of little African kids (and who doesn't LOVE that?!) and watching people of all languages worship just brought me to tears remembering my purpose. Hope your also will be encouraged to see the love of our Father and his name being praised in all corners of the earth. Makes you want to join in, doesn't it?!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyGD3zH9Xvc&feature=fvwrel

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Out of my Control

I have never thought of myself as a control freak. I am pretty much a "go with the flow," people please-er. I think one of the most eye opening things about the past few months is becoming aware of my desire to control something, and the detriment of trying to control something just for the sake of controlling it. This happens in South Asia and it drives us nuts... There may be a guard who does nothing all day but tell people to park in some random order. It is the only "power" the guy has, but he still needs to exert his power to control where you park, or which way the nose of your car is turned. They tell you to not walk somewhere just because it is the only thing that they have any control over. I think they are crazy "control freaks" but I know that I am not any better than them. I try to control things around my house, and in my own way do the same little nit-picky things. I try to control my schedule, but life here is totally full of unexpected plans and you never know who is going to call you and ask you to come over or who might be at the door stopping by to visit. 

So, I have to say how hard it is to not be in control of things with our adoption. We have done all we can up to this point and we are just waiting on paperwork and then it will be even more waiting for our referral, and then more waiting for Ethiopia to set up a court date for us, and then MORE waiting for the US embassy to approve all the Ethiopian paperwork and then give them a visa. Nothing in pretty much the rest of the process is within our control. I feel like I could go through everything about our child (or kids) that I cannot control... but instead of being upset at the long list of things I can't control, I would rather make it into a prayer list. I cannot control if the birth mother of our baby eats good food and drinks clean water, but I can pray that she make good choices and stays healthy. I cannot control who finds them, gives them up, or whatever happens before they are in the adoption agency's hands, but I KNOW the one who will be with our baby before anyone, and I will trust Him to take care of them when I can't be there yet. I can't control the judges and authorities in Ethiopia, but I will depend One who is truly judge and authority of all and leave things in HIS control. I can't control how long things take, but I will ask the Lord to continue to grow Ryan and me as we wait and that our baby will grow strong and be ready to come home to us at God's perfect timing. I wish we could just push past all the obstacles of adoption and needy babies would be placed in loving families without any issues, waiting for a year or more, or tens of thousands of dollars, but that is not the world in which we live. It just makes me long even more the world in which God is in supreme control and there is no pain, no death, no tears... the forever home we were made for... but until then, we live in a world where things are not fair, and life is not easy. One thing I can control is my attitude towards the whole thing. I can control my reaction to the injustices. I can give my selfish desires to the Lord and allow his perfect timing to be my delight. I can surrender to HIS plan and be excited about what our family will look like. Though it is hard to unclasp my grip on wanting to control our future family, but I will let go... leave my desires at the feet of Jesus... and let HIM be in control of everything.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sown in Tears...

In my life, I think I have had things pretty easy. Life in India and being so far from home and family as well as the struggles of being in a place where things don't go like they "should" has not been easy, but pretty much everything is do-able. I have had my share of tears, no doubt, but nothing has been as hard as what I am about to write. This is the first time I have actually shared this in writing, so it might sound a bit raw, but its just me being real and accepting life as it is.

I have always wanted to have a scores of kiddos... I wanted 5 since I was little. Ryan and I compromised on 3, and soon after we got married we figured we should start. As you all know, our planning and timing was not the Lord's.... and we have seen all the emotions: patience, anxiousness, bitterness, confusion, as well as contentment, waiting on our baby. Our kids. I have gone through seasons of jealousy, anger, excitement, fear, as well as grieving the loss of something I might never have.

This last week God gave me a verse for someone else who is having a baby and has gone through her own share of tears along the way of the birth of this little guy, and as I shared it with her, I realized that it was also for me.
Psalm 126:5-6 "Those who sow in tears, will reap with songs of JOY. He who goes out carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of JOY, carrying sheaves with him."
There is something to be gained through the months and years of tears, waiting. I wish there was a way to just change things and make our adoption easier, or for us to have a baby naturally, but it is just a long, HARD road. Some days I am so grateful for the time I have now to prepare our home, and make the perfect quilt and crochet projects. I have lots of time to pour into language and work here in our city and I have energy and time to be out with people, building relationships. I am thankful. But it does not make it easier. I still have my moments when I wonder if it will EVER happen... Adoption is not for the feint of heart. It is a long, detailed process that is WAY out of my comfort zone, and living internationally and adopting from a different country makes things even more insane. But this is our life. And for some reason, God wants to teach me through my tears how to be more like HIM. How to have compassion on people in a way I have never shown compassion before. I don't think this adoption is just creating a better life for a child, or a way for Ryan and I to grow our family, but it is a way for God to grow us, deepen our relationship with him, and remind us that we are not in control of anything, but everything is in HIS sovereign hands. 


It is still SO long until the day we will finally get to hold our little guy in our arms.... We have so much more paperwork and there could be delays for any number of things, but we are just trusting that one day, "our faith will be sight"(at least in this area) and we will be able to hug and kiss our little Rainbolt... or Rainbolts!.... and that we will be unable to contain the songs of JOY as we carry our sheaves home with us! I long for that day, but like my mom said once, "It's not on the mountain tops that our faith grows deep roots... It's down in the valleys, when life is hard and maybe a bit sad that we can deepen our roots and grow us to bring HIM more Glory." So, we will continue to carry out the seed, and plant it in places we have not been before, and even as we sow in tears, we know that there will one day be a harvest. I wish we could just stop all the injustices in the world and life could just work like we plan, but our God is too good to just let us have everything we want. He sometimes does not give us the things we ask for simply because he knows the future better than we do. Maybe there can never be a harvest without the tears to begin with... to water the long hardened ground... so that God can produce a harvest of JOY! I want to be part of THAT... and even when "the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vine, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen, and no cattle in the stalls, YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD, I will be joyful in GOD my Savior." Habakkuk 3:17-18

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tithes

"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' In tithes and offerings... Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heavens and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it!" Malachi 3:8, 10

This verse has been on my mind for a few weeks. I kept wondering what God has for me in this verse... I thought to myself, "well, Ryan and I have our tithe set up on a bank draft so we can't forget it, so I don't think that God is saying I am robbing from him..." Then the thought occurred that maybe it was not about a weekly tithe, or even about money at all. God doesn't just ask for our money, but also our time, energy, and attitudes. My offering to him is not limited to money, but it is all about living a life of service that pleases HIM. God wants my time. He wants my friendship. He wants me to desire to serve Him. And sometimes, I just get focused on myself and my own problems, that often seem bigger than they really are. As I sat in an auto traveling to a poor part of my city to help with a B study, I was tired and worn out by the stresses of living in this culture, and I frustratedly wanted to shake my fists and ask, "How much more are you going to make me go through, Lord? Seriously, I don't know how much more I have to give?!" He gently reminded me that if I bring an offering of my life and service and leave it before his throne, He wants to show me HIS blessings... straight from the FLOODGATES of HEAVEN! WOW! God wants his blessings to be poured out on this WHOLE city, country and world... but he tells us to test Him... to give him our best and through this, He can teach us what HIS blessings really are. The blessings He gives may not look like material blessings, just like the tithe is not only material things. But He tells us to test Him... so I really want to do it! Then I thought about robbing God. Does He really need my money, or energy, or time? Are we robbing Him by not giving Him things, OR are we robbing Him of His opportunity to be proven TRUE by our service and HIS pouring out of HIS blessings! Again WOW! I know as a teacher, I couldn't give students special treats unless they showed me they were making right choices... And parenting is the same way. You hate taking away privileges because they did not do what they were told, but you know that it is necessary. If we really believed that God has the floodgates of HEAVEN waiting for to be poured over us, would we change the way we view our everyday life?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Our House!

Well... our "house" is really an apartment, but it is totally home, so we call it a house anyway! We found a flat, as they are called here, extremely fast, and PTL all the paper work was completed in record time! Ryan is the one of us that gets things done quickly, so he really gets all the credit. I had been pr-ing that when we saw the house, we would just KNOW. We liked the house, but I did not feel that I knew yet. The next morning we thought we would check out the neighborhood around the apartment, since we had only had time to see the inside before. When we walked on the street and saw the people and little shops... and we just KNEW! It was so clear, and then everything worked so quickly! We are on the 4th floor of 16. It is close enough that we can take the stairs, or wait for the elevator when we come home from the store with all our stuff!
 Here are some photos: 
Outside
 
 Our living room Before and After!


 Our Guest Bedroom. The rest of the rooms are still awaiting their furniture deliveries!
 Our Kitchen




 The view from outside our windows

 Our little park complete with music note benches!
Our playground!


Ryan cleaning the floor. I like the jump prints made by the dirt on his feet!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Without Grumbling...

Some days I like to blog because something amazing has happened, or I had a cool insight... just for fun or something insightful God is teaching me. Today I am blogging to remind myself of whats really important and to remember that its NOT about me...

Ryan and I moved to our new city and we are TOTALLY in LOVE! Its such a great place to find just about anything, and there is no lack of people anywhere you go! We found a great little place on the 4th floor of a 16 floor apartment building. It is on a cute little street that is walking distance from a few malls and outdoor markets. These last few weeks have been filled with goodbye's of our friends in our city where we have been learning language... and then figuring out a whole new city. Most of the exploring has been on our own since we know the language well and can find our way around without help. We have really enjoyed being with each other and shopping for all the things to fill our house with together. We have also enjoyed the times that we have gotten to spend with out teammates in the city as well.

This week we have spent lots of time waiting around trying to get our house set up. I really dislike waiting... so does Ryan, but we do what we have to do. Several days he has had to just stay home waiting on a delivery of a fridge or couch, or for the internet guys to come set up our connection. Our kitchen had no cabinet or anything when we moved in, so our landlord said he would get them put in for us. I understood that they were going to make them be pretty awesome like some I saw in the stores or other peoples homes. We have waiting all week, not putting anything out in the kitchen yet (which has been hard for me!) and when they started putting in the cabinets, it was all I could do to not cry in disappointment. The workers were supposed to do all the work and just install them in a few hours. But these guys have been here for two days, coming in around 10am and staying until 10pm (with a lunch and nap break). It has made it hard on us. We cannot both go out and leave them here working, so Ryan has let me go out some and get some groceries. But in spite of the cabinets not being what I hoped, they will work... I just keep reminding myself that it is not about a kitchen being set up perfect or a house that has everything just right.... its about serving our King. We really love our house, but when you can't set anything up yet, it is hard. Everything is covered in concrete dust from the installation of the cabinets and the bed for our room and our dining room table is not being delivered until the end of the month. It really is not the big things that knock you down, it is the little things... the things that just don't work like you think that they should that make you get frustrated and upset. So I have been fighting the frustration and anxiety all weekend. I should be excited that I get any cabinets at all! My kitchen that is far less modern than I expected, but it will work... I want it to be used for the glory of God, and really the most important part is serving HIM, not how cool everything works. Ryan and I were reading this morning and talking through Philippians 2:1-18. The part that really struck me was about no grumbling. This is hard. In a culture where things do not work like you plan, or even the way or the time they tell you, but the Word says, "No grumbling." If we do this, we will shine as lights in a dark world. And our world sure is dark and in desperate need of the LIGHT. Verse 17, "even if I am poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice of service... I rejoice." I think I feel the strain of being poured out like a drink offering... but we are told to rejoice. I then looked back up to verse 13, "It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good pleasure." As I help a cup of coffee in my hand, it hit me. ... I get used, poured out... and then it is GOD who works IN ME. He refills me anytime I ask him to! He pours His goodness and grace into me so I can share that with others. I have been filled with HIS spirit... and I have a choice. I can choose to keep it all to myself, and sit there, full. OR I can let Him pour me out for HIS glory and let HIS goodness not stay in one place. Today I felt like I was poured out and empty. And He gently reminded me that I need to stay in HIS presence so he can constantly keep me filled. Instead of becoming lukewarm coffee on the counter, I have the giver of all Life who refills my cup everyday... and not just filled, but OVERFLOWING! (Psalm 23:5)