Saturday, May 29, 2010
Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
139:1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain! 
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts! 
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! 
God knows! It is mind boggling to try and grasp what He knows. He knows me. He knows Alex. He knows Ada, Joe, Elie, and Sam. He knows our family history and what makes us tick. He knows Maren. He knows her mom and her dad. He knows her history and what makes her tick. He is close to us here in Nebraska. He is just as close to Maren in Taiwan. It is too wonderful to understand! There is no where we can go that He is not already there. God knows. Oh for grace to trust Him more! Help us, Lord.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Habakkuk 2:3, "For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay."
Thanks, Angie, for sending this verse. It does seem slow. I am praying for humility, trust, and grace.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Last week I had a nagging question that would not leave me alone. If God is God and He is in charge and He is going to bring Maren home when He says it is time on His time table then why keep praying? I have prayed and prayed and prayed. I brought my complaints to the Lord. Finally, I listened.
Psalm 62:8, "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us."
Because He is my refuge. Because He is with me and for me in this adoption. Because this life is about my relationship with Him and not what I can get from Him. Because He carried my sorrows and grief on the cross. Because He wants me to share with Him and He wants to share with me.
Cowardly, wayward, and weak
I change with the changing sky.
Today so eager and strong
Tomorrow not caring to try.
But He never gives in,
And we two shall win,
Jesus and I. -Anonymous
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
My sister in law, Lidia, is a huge fan of Ruth Bell Graham. She recommended I read the book It's My Turn. I picked it up on ebay for $2. It is a great read.
This morning I read a chapter called Worry and Worship. She starts the chapter with a quote by Bishop Moule. "There is no situation so chaotic that God cannot from that situation, create something that is surpassingly good. He did it at the creation. He did it at the cross. He is doing it today."
Ruth had been worrying about one of her children. She read scripture and prayed often and still worried. One night she read Phillipians 4:6, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God and the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus." She realized "the missing ingredient" in her prayers was thanksgiving. And, "worship and worry cannot live in the same heart: they are mutually exclusive."
I feel like I go in and out of worship and worry. Lord, give me an undivided heart that I might praise Your name. I want to be a worshipper not a worrier. I want to trust you and thank you. This has to be Your work in me. I cannot do it.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Maren, you are worth every second of this wait and more! You are the girl that we have been praying for. You melt our hearts every time we watch you on video or see your sweet face in photos! We thank God for you every day. Our God is for us. We know He is working and His ways are not our ways. They are higher. Keep growing and blossoming, little beauty.
Genesis 29:20, "So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her."
Friday, May 14, 2010
May (Mother's Day)
April (Maren with Xiao Mei)
February (Chinese New Year)
January (one of my all time favorites)
December (Christmas time on Jenna's lap)
November (Thanksgiving Weekend with the beloved Hatcher sisters)
It's after midnight now in Taiwan so it is the 15th. Maren is half way to her first birthday. She is 6 months old. She was 5 lbs. 1 oz. when she was born. Last week she was 13.6 lbs. She is thriving! I don't think she can sit up yet but she sure has grown and changed.
Please keep us in prayer. Pray that God will bring the decrees needed from the judge so that we can line up our travel. I still have hopes for May whether I should or not. I am so full of emotion.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I am ready to meet my daughter in Taiwan. The dam of desire is at capacity and the rusty bolts can barely support the walls and contain the flood. I hate being her mom in my heart and being half way around the world. There is such a connection and care yet we are strangers. I feel like I am standing outside in the cold with my nose and hands pressed tightly against a glass wall. I see her but I cannot get to her. Other people know her better than I do. I want to experience her for myself in person and not just through second hand bits and pieces. I am a baby person in a big way. I love them! I'm missing it! Don't get me wrong. Maren is in wonderful, loving, capable hands. We are spoiled in receiving frequent updates and pictures. And, I am thankful that I am alive now. I've heard the stump speech several times from several good intentioned people about how blessed I am to be adopting in the age of technology. I know that if we adopted 30 years ago we would still be snail mailing everything and information would be more limited and probably unavailable. I am aware of how truly blessed we are to receive video and pictures so often many larger agencies don't give what we have been given. And, I want my daughter home. I love her.
I have wanted to adopt since 1996. We looked into adoption in 2004 but it was not the right time. We found His Hands in 2008. God gave us Maren in November 2009. She is worth every minute and every second of this wait. But, she has been in my heart a long long time.
People who have spent time with her have remarked about her eyes. Her eyes are beautiful and she seems to be a little thinker already. I can't wait to touch her skin and look into her eyes for the first time face to face.
Song of Solomon 8:7a, "Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it."
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
My dear friend, Rebecca, sent this to me last night. It is soothing to my soul. I had to share it.
It is an excerpt from Streams in the Desert, May 24 by L.B. Cowman. (I'm going to have to pick up that book!)
The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations (Ps 33:11) But we must be prepared to wait on God's timing. His timing is precise, for He does things "at the very time" He has set. It is not for us to know His timing, and in fact we cannot know it - we must wait for it.
If God had told Abraham while he was in Haran that he would have to wait 30 yrs before holding his promised child in his arms, his heart might have failed him. So God, as an act of His gracious love, hid from Abraham the number of weary yearrs he would be required to wait. Only as the time was approaching, with but a few months left to wait, did God reveal His promise: "At the appointed time next year....Sarah will have a son" Gen 18:14. The appointed time came at last, and soon the joyous laughter that filled the patriarch's home caused the now elderly couple to forget their long and tiring wait.
So take heart, dear child, when God requires you to wait. The One you wait for will not disappoint you. He will never be even 5 mins behind "the appointed time." And soon "your grief will turn to joy" Jn 16:20.
Oh how joyful the soul that God brings to laughter! Then sorrow and crying flee forever, as darkness flees the dawn.
****skip some**** Some things cannot be accomplished in a day. Even God does not make a glorious sunset in a moment. For several days He gathers the mist with which to build His beautiful palaces in the western sky.
Some glorious morn - but when? Ah who will say?
The steepest mountain will become a plain,
And the parched land be satisfied with rain.
The gates of brass all broken iron bars,
Transfigured, form a ladder to the stars.
Rough places plain, and crooked ways all straight,
For him who with a patient heart can wait.
These things will be on God's appointed day:
IT MAY NOT BE TOMORROW -- YET IT MAY.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I'm sitting here with a cup of Good Earth hot tea (one of my favorites). It is cold, windy, and rainy. The weather compliments my melancholy thoughts and feelings. I've already been to prayer this morning, jogged, and eaten a few Mother's Day chocolates in hopes of cheering myself up. It's helped a little but it's another hard day. I've been sitting by the computer too long, aching. I'm tired of the wait and the fight for faith and the unknown.
Court date was 11 weeks ago now. Homestudies 8 1/2 weeks ago. Maren will turn 6 months old on Saturday. Half of her first year will be behind her. School gets out on May 20th. Angie's coming home on May 19th. Mom and Ron are coming the first week of June. Gary and Liz are coming mid-June. Long sigh. Time is dragging. I really thought I might be holding her by now.
I continue to rehearse Isaiah 30:18, "Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him." I am not feeling it this morning but I am praying for faith to believe it. With His help I can keep going.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
I frequently read Noel Piper's blog. Noel recently attended Orphan Summit VI which is put on by Christian Alliance for Orphans. One of the speakers who came was Stephanie Fast. Stephanie was adopted at the age of 9 from Korea. She had been abandoned at a train station and then abused and left to die in a garbage dump. Some nuns found her. And, God brought a missionary couple to be her parents. Noel tweeted some things that she said in her time to share at the Summit. I keep going back to Noel's tweets and re-reading them. I decided I wanted to write them down here because they have been so meaningful to me. I keep thinking about them. I am praying over these statements for our family. I am especially asking that Maren will be adopted twice (once by us and again by her Heavenly Father) and I am praying Ada, Joe, Elie, Sam, Alex, and I will be adopted too. We need our Father's love and certainty of our adoption.
"There is no event in my life that I would be better without. "
"Just being adopted doesn't remove the orphan spirit. Only the 2nd adoption, with God as Father can remove that spirit. "
"Adoptive parent, you are chosen by God to be a voice in your child's life so your child can rise up and be a voice to other orphans."
"Why aren't more adult adoptees speaking out? Maybe because they still have the old orphan spirit & need to know God's adoption."
"My natural father never knew I existed. My heavenly father has known & loved me every second of all eternity."
"My country rejected me because I was biracial. God said, I have a place and purpose for you."
"Essence of orphan ministry: not ONLY caring for current needs, but looking toward a child's future and hope. "
"When I was introduced to Jesus, I didn't know how to take him, because I didn't know how to recognize love."
"When I was adopted at 9, I had every syndrome you hear about for older orphans."
"I do not want to be the orphan, the adopted daughter, who keeps the story of her 2 adoptions to herself."
2 of My Favorite Books on Bonding
Becoming a Family
The Connected Child
When adopting the most important issue by far is bonding. One way we are planning to bond with Maren is through keeping very close proximity for several months. We will be making up for time away from her when she comes home. One tool we really wanted was a co-sleeper so she can be near us at night. The Lord has provided and we are so grateful. Some of my friends in the mom's group I am a part of on Tuesday morning surprised me and went together and purchased this co-sleeper for us! It attaches to our bed. Maren can be very close and have her own space. Thank you, Lord! And, thank you ladies! You have blessed us!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I don't wish to be redundant but all I can say is adoption sure is full of ups and downs. Come to think of it I guess that is life. But, it seems like adoption is a season in life where they come close together. At least that has been my experience for a little over a year.
Yesterday when I woke up I was "up". Then I came out to the computer and checked my inbox, no news. All of a sudden a "down" swept over me. I stared at the computer and willed for something to change. I hoped as I sat there news would come. I posted a facebook status that said, "if staring at the computer could make something happen in the judicial system of Taiwan then Maren would have been home a long time ago." Then I deleted it. It just felt like a stupid pointless thing to say. Why did I say that?
Monday is Mom's in Touch day for me. I choose our theme each week. Yesterday I chose, "God Sustains". I sat at the table bowed my head while I waited for time to begin. Thoughts swirled through my head while I waited. "I can't do this. I can't wait any longer, Lord. This really hurts. When Lord? I just want to be her mom and I can't understand why it's not time yet." Tears came. I have been holding onto the verse Rebecca sent when my thoughts start to runaway, "The Lord waits to be gracious to me."
Time to start praying. Here were yesterday's verses:
Psalm 18:35, "You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great."
Psalm 54:4, "Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life."
Psalm 147:6, "The Lord lifts up the humble, he casts the wicked to the ground."
As we started to praise God I could clearly see my pride. Who was I to say, "I can't do this." What gives me the right to think "I reached the end of my rope."? Maren is the Lord's, not mine. The Maker of Heaven of Earth is my Help! His ways are not my ways and His ways are higher, better.
He is my Help. Help seems like a small word in English. Helper is the assistant not the main player. When we think, "you can help", we think of a small role we give to our kids or something. But, the King of Kings supports me with His right hand (the hand of His authority). This help is not small. This help is not trivial or insignificant. I don't want to be wicked and prideful and cast off by the Lord. I want to receive His help. I want to be a conduit of His strength. His strength really is made perfect in my weakness. I want His help. I want Him to lift me up.
"I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content, I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13
Pray that I will believe that God is near. Pray that I will believe that He is working for me and for Maren. Pray that I will have faith at the end of the adoption and more importantly at the day of Christ. I want to stand unashamed before my God who stands with me. I want to hear Him say, "well done".
Do I want to wait longer? Of course not! But, what do I know?
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Maren isn't home yet. But already we have confused people with her name. :) Several folks have asked me, "Is her name Maren or Meg or Megan?". Her name is Maren.
Every time I had been expecting since Joseph back in 2001 we considered the name Margaret for a girl. Meg is a nick name for Margaret. (Honestly, I don't see how Meg comes out of Margaret but I have heard that it does.) Anyway, if we had named our baby Margaret we planned to call her Meg. Well, a few years ago we came across the name Maren which is a variant form of Margaret. It has the same meaning. And, we love the name Maren and we still like the nick name Meg. So, there you have it! Sorry for the confusion. Hopefully Meg won't mind.