Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day

I love Father's Day. I love any chance really to honor Jeff for the incredible dad that he is to our kids. He has taught me so much about how to be a Godly parent. His patience is unbelievable. He shows grace instead of anger. He is playful, yet demands respect. He loves whole-heartedly, fiercely even. He provides for us always, and does so with a thankful heart. Even though he keeps the thermostat in our house so high (Because he's "frugal" like that, y'all), he's definitely the best there is around!

Jeff, I love you. I love watching you with our kids. I love how you play tea party and barbie dolls with Ellie, then turn around and play Halo on X Box with Bryan. I love how you support our kids with your words and your presence. I love that you put God first, us second and your work third. I love that you love me so well, and you show our kids what a great marriage should look like. I love that Bryan has learned to open doors for me (okay, he's learning!), and Ellie is learning to look for a man like you one day (A LONG TIME from now). You bless me so much. You bless our family so much.

I can't let this opportunity to give some love to my dad go by either. My dad is wonderful, plain and simple. He's passionate for his family. He worked hard when I was growing up, but he always had time to play with us too. One of my favorite memories of my dad was Monday nights when we'd drive together to piano lessons. On the way, we'd crank up some music (usually Southern Gospel, but occassionally some Kenny Rogers The Gambler:)) and we'd sing our hearts out. I loved that time, one on one with my daddy!
Now, I get the joy of watching my dad with my own children, and what a blessing that is! I love how he teaches Bryan things like fishing and working. I love that he sings with Ellie and lets her play with her doctor kit with him. (Poor guy has had so many "surgeries" from Dr Ellie since she's been home that it's a wonder he's still around!) I love watching his face light up when they come in the room, and knowing that he finds joy just in being with them. I think the thing I love the most though, is listening to him tell stories to them. From Vietnam stories to his infamous "Big Toe" story, his stories cannot be beat! Our kids love them, and so do we! Dad, I love you so much. Thank you for leading our family the way you do. Thank you for pointing me to Christ in all things. Thank you for still calling me your little girl. You bless me so much. You believe in me, and I still look to you for wisdom. I love you, Daddy!

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one other dad in my life. My father-in-love (Because "law" just doesn't cut it!) was an incredible man. I regret that I didn't have longer to get to know him, but his memory is etched in my mind forever. I'm so thankful for the few years I did have with him. Wayne was a great man, and he raised a great man (aka, my husband!). I loved Wayne's laugh most of all. He totally cracked me up when he would get tickled about something and just laugh. He had one of those full laughs that was infectious. I loved him so much! I also loved how he would make their dog Sheba sit in time out with him on the couch! hah!

But there was also a serious side to Wayne. He was a great encourager and a man of prayer. I remember so well after I had lost a baby to miscarriage, Wayne would call me to check on me and tell me that he loved me. He would tell me that he was praying for me, and then he would actually pray. Those prayers brought healing to my life, and I'm so grateful still for how he loved me during that time!  I miss him a lot, but I see glimpses of him in Jeff and even in Bryan from time to time. He left a legacy that is beautiful.

No doubt about it.. .my Heavenly Daddy has blessed me with some pretty amazing dads here on earth! thanks be to God!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

on faith...

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the idea of faith since we were in Ethiopia. Truth is that I always do when we go there (or anywhere overseas, for that matter). It seems that when I'm there in Ethiopia, I am forced to come to terms with the fact that my faith is puny at times. When I sit with ladies who don't know if they'll have food to give to their children, yet they praise the Lord continuously, I realize how shallow I really am.
When I hold the unbelievably bony hand of a child who doesn't have enough of anything, yet smiles bigger than the sun, I'm humbled by my lack of faith. When I watch those who are poor, in need, hungry, and thirsty cry out in praise to the Father above in a way that shows they KNOW He is listening, I am brought to my knees.

I've spent some time in the scripture reading about heroes of faith. I spent time reading about Abraham and Isaac (genesis 22, if you want to read it for yourself), and I'm simply amazed at this man's faith. I mean, here you have God telling Abraham "Go sacrifice the son you waited for all those years (like a hundred years people!)". And even more baffling is that Abraham simply "got up and went". There's so much meat here...the symbolism of the three days journey, Isaac carrying his own wood (so much like the three days that Jesus was dead prior to God's rescue and that He too carried His own cross/wood), but what gets me is the pure, unadulterated faith that Abraham possessed. He didn't argue. He didn't whine. He didn't ask someone else what they thought he should do. He just went. He trusted the goodness of God to either rescue him or comfort him. He LIVED faith, not just said he had faith.

Tigist kisses Ellie's picture
Last week, I spent a day with Ellie's birth mom, Tigist. This woman is phenomenal. Her spirit is unbroken, despite a life that has brought harships I can't even fathom. But what got me the most was when she said to me that "when I knew that you and Jeff were coming for Kedest (ellie), I knew she would be fine. And if she would be fine, then so would her sister, so I could trust placing her for adoption too". That is faith, folks. No, she didn't have faith in God (I'm praying that she will though!), but she had unresolved faith that her plan to save her children would work. And it has. Not only are her children safe and healthy, but they are flourishing. 

Abraham and Tigist both dared to step out on faith and do the unthinkable. And every single day, I'm invited to do the same. No, God isn't asking me to sacrifice my kids. But He is asking me to put them AFTER Him. Will I? He isn't asking me to make an adoption plan as a choice for my family, but He is calling me to speak up for the orphan and take care of them. He isn't asking me to move to a foreign land, but He is asking me to take clean water to the people of Ethiopia (to begin with). I'm not living in fear or oppression, but He has asked me to write the story of one who is/has.  I have a choice on whether I give in to doubt and fear or whether I take a step and reach for the hand of the One who is all I ever need to trust in.

How 'bout you? What will faith look like for you?