Saturday, April 25, 2009

Running For Ellie

This morning, Jeff joined 11,999 other runners in Louisville for the 2009 mini marathon. Wow.. what a blast! Bryan and I, along with my mom & dad and Jeff's mom were there to cheer him on.
I can't tell you how proud I was of him as he crossed that finish line. He rocked. And.. he was the sexiest runner out there too :)

This was all done as a way to raise money to bring Ellie home. I cannot wait to tell her this story. She's one blessed little girl to have a daddy like him, as Bryan can already attest to.

Jeff coming across the finish line. He's on the right in the visor.

Woo hoo... he made it!

Bryan was so proud

Jeff and his mom.

My mom and dad

I'm proud of you Jeff. I love you!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dear Bryan & Ellie,

Today is Easter Sunday. All over the world, people have been dressing up in pretty dresses, hiding and hunting for colored eggs, and celebrating the easter bunny's visit to their home. All of that is fun and fine to do. But I wouldn't be a very good mom if I didn't stop to tell you what Easter is really all about. So, this is my Easter gift to you.

Easter is the reason we can celebrate. Without Easter, Christmas isn't complete. As followers of Christ, this day is the day that allows us to live with joy and hope and security, no matter what is going on all around us. Jesus, who was completely human and completely God all at once, willingly died on the cross. It was a cruel death. He was beaten, His body torn. He was bloody and gory, and if truth be told, we probably wouldn't have wanted to look at Him then. Sometimes we make the Cross seem less horrific than it really was. I want you to understand the great lengths that He went to for you and for me, for the world.

They killed Him on that Cross. That was their plan all along. And He knew it when He walked that road towards that hill, carrying that Cross on his back. Scripture tells us that the sun stopped shining and the curtain of the temple was torn in two, breaking the barrier between God and man once and for all. It must have been scary and magnificent all at once to have witnessed that moment.

But, if the story ended there, we'd have no hope. We'd be like others who serve a god that has died and lays entombed still today. No. That's not what happened at all. They put His lifeless body in a tomb, but 3 days later, He arose out of that grave fully alive!! THAT is the reason we celebrate. We serve a Savior who has conquered not only life but death as well!

Bryan, I know you are a believer. I remember the day you asked Jesus to come into your life. I am so excited that you know Him! I pray that you allow His resurrection power to work freely in your life. I pray that you take advantage of the fact that you can go freely to God at any time and for anything. He loves you, even more than your dad and I do (that's hard to fathom!). I pray that you trust that the blood He shed for you is still at work within you today! It NEVER FAILS Bryan. It can get you through anything, even when things seem impossible to you. I love you so much Bryan. I hope that you see me living as one who knows that I serve a Risen Savior every day. Forgive me for those days that I haven't done that.

Ellie, I pray right now that you are surrounded by people who know the Lord. I pray that today they told you the story of Jesus' resurrection. I pray that you are hearing that He loves you each and every day. I pray that one day you will understand that His love for you is bigger than you can ever dream or imagine, and that He died on that cross for you! Just as we are adopting you into our family, God wants to adopt you into His family, Ellie. One day you will understand this, I know. Your coming into our family is a beautiful picture of what God does for us... He finds us in our need, loves us just as we are and where we are, and He will go to any length to bring us to Him. He's always had you on His mind Ellie. Until you understand that for yourself, I will trust Him for you.

I pray that both of you celebrate Easter every day. He IS risen...

I love you,

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Believe

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:6-7)

I read those words this afternoon. It was perfect timing, no doubt. God knew what I needed to hear. You see, I've been anxious, worried and frustrated. I've been feeling like MY timing is best. I've been wrestling with God about this adoption: what is the hold up, why haven't we gotten our court date? I've been doing too much whining and not enough praying.

Scripture says that I should humble myself before God, and He will lift me IN DUE TIME. It then immediately tells me that He cares for me. Coincidence? I think not. I believe that God understands how hard it is to wait on His timing. So, He immediately follows up those instructions with encouragement that He loves and cares for us.

As we wait for a court date for Ellie, I find myself bouncing back and forth between absolute excitement and doubt. I find myself saying things like "She's never coming home" or "Maybe we were wrong about this". But I know that isn't true. That is Satan trying to get me to give up hope. And well, that is never going to happen!

Did you hear that Satan (because I know you are listening here!)??

I believe that God created a precious little girl in a small village in Ethiopia around 2 1/2 years ago. I believe that He knew the extreme poverty that her mother would live in. I believe that He made a plan for her life from the very beginning, a plan that would prosper her and not bring her harm. I believe that He heard the cry of my heart, desiring to be a mother again. And I believe that in His infinite wisdom, God ordained that she would be that child. I believe that God knew from her first breath, that her mother would bring her into the world, but this mother would nurture her future. I believe that God ordained that her mother would step forward with courage and grace to make a plan that would allow her baby to have a life with more opportunity. I believe that He orchestrated every step of this process for us to wind up where she was waiting so that we could become a family.

I believe that one day, she will run through this house, calling me "Mommy" and calling Jeff "Daddy". I believe that she will adore Bryan, her big brother. I believe that she will have sleepovers with Nana, Papa, and Grammy. I believe that she will go to Gatlinburg with her Uncle Chris, Aunt Shelly and Kristin, and love it as much as they do. I believe that she will sing the silly "Sunday School Nightclub" songs with Aunt Lisa, Uncle Jim, Aaron and Breanna. I believe that she will walk through the doors of First Baptist Church into her family that has prayed for her for so long. I believe there will be many good night kisses, long bear hugs, sore throats, skinned knees, and broken hearts. I believe there will be piano lessons, school parties, proms and tests to study for. I believe that one day I will sit in a beautiful sanctuary where she will walk down the aisle on the arm of her Daddy to a man that God has already chosen for her.

I believe that she is my daughter.

Please pray for us as we wait for Ellie. We are in a bit of a crunch with time, as some of our important documents are about to expire. That will only delay bringing her home. Here are specific prayer requests:
1. to have a court date assigned and pass! (specifically assigned this week!)
2. for Ellie to move from her current orphanage to the Transition House in the city
3. continued health and safety for Ellie as she waits
4. for Ellie to begin to understand that we are her family, and that we love her
5. for her nannies and caretakers
6. for the staff of our agency who work so diligently to get through the paperwork chaos!
7. for the other children who are waiting with Ellie for their families
8. for us... as we wait and hope with great anticipation for the day that she is at home with us.

Thank you for how you have supported us in prayer, finances and encouragement so far on this journey. We truly could not do this without the love and support of so many friends and family!

Keep Believing