Thursday, January 24, 2013

Where Autism meets Adoption

Warning...I am sure most will not care much about this post, it is strictly a journal entry for me or anyone who really cares about our journey. I am writing for me and memories to refer back to along the way.

 Today I knew we would have a full day that would push terribly the sensory buttons for my autistic daughter. I prepared us for it and we prayed, spoke God's word, did fun activities we packed, and ate food including sugar! It was a day to pull out all the stops if we were going to accomplish all we needed to for the final drive of this adoption home study.

We had many stops and because it was an entire day that was taken up we made it into one big field trip. We learned much about civil service and the government. Then we learned about enterprise and other service industries as well. Also how it is important that the government does not run all things like churches. We got to visit and meet many people in service to the government along the way. It was highly educational.

We kept in mind that everything we did today was for the love of Kota and our adoption of him. First he had his well check visit. All went well and it is so good to see how well he has progressed from a year ago. It was like he improved almost completely. He is still small for his age but not anything to be concerned about. His immunizations are pretty much caught up. He went from being the equivalent of an 18 month old to a now four year old in a year. Great progress!

Next we had to go to the health department. We had to have birth certificates printed, then a TB screening. Dakota was quite wild and did not want to settle down while I filled out forms but the great discerning clerk put the tv on to a Nick jr show and immediately he calmed down. Funny how tv does that. But my autistic girl said, so is the tb screening where we sit and watch the tv screen? LOVE HER! She was convinced that was it since it is what we did. However after our wait we answered some questions and were out.

Then next part was quite embarrassing and humbling. We had to go into the STD clinic for my HIV test. It was filled with colorful people of interesting character. I was so hoping nothing awkward came up and praying the kids were shielded from that stuff. God kept them shielded and I was thankful! We waited in there so long it seemed so I pulled out the Arabic alphabet and started teaching it. We also quoted our Psalm verses we are memorizing. The people in this office were not as discerning toward the need to help shield these children from the stuff in the clinic.

After this was completed we then took a stop at the police center. We got to speak to an employee who would help us with this part of the process. This building was the cleanest and most helpful. It took the least amount of time as well. I was thankful.

After this we made a quick stop at the post office, why not it was government facility day. Then off to the grocery store for a few needed items. By this time and about five hours into our adventure my autistic was beat. I however did not want to leave her in the van because of the crazy bang on your window weirdo guy who was once in that parking lot. We all then went in. Now the scene is kind of sad actually. I have little man in the front cart seat. I have my nine year old autistic girl in the big part of the cart. The entire time she sucks her thumb and lays on a pillow. While she is doing this we are fitting necessary groceries in around her.

Some greedy attitudes occur with the oldest while the youngest tries to pester the middle child. Oh Lord come quickly! I am so glad I filled up with LOTS of the Word this morning before we went in. AND prayed a powerful prayer to help us stay focused on Christ while we were in the store. Yet despite it all the little man got angry with the middle child and started pounding on her. This was of course while I was lecturing the oldest on being thankful and content with what you have. I intervene and stop it then lecture on kindness, how we never hit, and how they are to serve and protect one another.

We finally make it home unload groceries and get settled. I told my autistic child I am so proud of her how she exhibited so much self control and patience though I knew it was impossible for her without the help of the Holy Spirit. She hugs me and says, I wold do anything to make Dakota my official brother.

These words. THESE WORDS, are why we do this! This little girl who suffered greatly today in ways I cannot even understand, this girl still voices her love and sacrifice for the sake of adoption. This is wisdom and maturity beyond her years. Only the Lord can truly know what a sacrifice she has made today for the sake of adoption for He made her body and knows how each part of her is made. He knows the continual sacrifice she makes living in this world that was not made for her kind. I know His reward for her is great. Greater because she perseveres even though it is nearly impossible. She is learning to trust and depend on God.

Jesus knew the cost of reaching down to save us out of the pit of abandonment and filth. He sacrificed completely all for the sake of adoption. I was reminded of this today. I am thankful for my autistic girl. For she was my reminder of the power of Christ and His sacrifice for us all who would believe.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Worship of Stone Statues - Malta

Malta will always be a place that is near and dear to my heart. I pray and hope that one day God will allow me to go back. I have made some good friends there. I see their hearts desire for the people to worship the one true God alone. My heart joins with theirs in praying this way.

These people are very religious but miss the relationship in Christ alone. They observe various feasts dedicated to patron saints. During these times they carry these huge beautifully carved statues of stone around of the saint celebrating. As they do this people bow down and worship this block of stone.

This breaks my heart but I can easily forget this and what I observed. I do not live there day in and day out. My friend who is a Christian, the minority, has to see this often and I know it breaks her heart. She asked me today for some Scripture on statues. They worship statues of stone, yet I may worship my children or my comfort. Both of these are wrong. Jesus alone deserves our worship. Nothing else. Yet so easily our hearts are drawn to devotion of other things.

In searching for some scripture for my friend I found this in Deuteronomy 24:23-24, "Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."

The people are being prepared for entering the promised land. God reminds them of the covenant relationship He has with them. He reminds them not to make for themselves an idol. Why? The text states because the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

God is jealous for us, it is He the Creator of the universe who knit each human being together in the secret place of their mother's womb. It is He the One who gave up His community of the Trinity in perfect fellowship to dress Himself in skin to walk with out sin in the flesh, to die brutally and with separation from God on the cross for sinners. It is He who because of His great love for us chose to redeem by exchanging places with us. His life for ours. It was He who because of His sacrifice and exchange of places gives us a right standing before God. He is amazing. He truly is the only One who deserves our full worship. It is He who is the One who has the right to be jealous for His Creation that He loves deeply and completely. 

So my prayer is that those who are caught up in idol worship whether it be of stone statues or of anything else that takes our eyes off of Christ alone be acquainted with the One who loves us fully and completely. The One who is jealous for us and who went amazingly wonderful and painful lengths to redeem us. May all eyes be fixed on Him and may He fill our hearts with a burning passion and desire for Him alone. May our hearts only have room to worship Him. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear His call to us.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: Puritan Portraits by J.I. Packer

I received a free copy of this ebook from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

This book was essentially written "portraits" of seven puritan men who were important throughout history. These written "portraits" exist as introductions in the full length books about theses seven puritans and their written work that were written previously by the author. This book brings it all together in one place giving you a great sampling of each of these men along with some excerpts of their written works.

The book begins with Puritan Pastors at Work. Giving an overall introduction
Then moves onto addressing these pastors in detail.

The puritan men addressed were:
1-Henry Scougal
2-Stephen Charnock
3-John Bunyan
4-Matthew Henry
5-John Owen
6-John Flavel
7-Thomas Boston.

Then ends with Two Puritan Paragons, William Perkins and Richard Baxter.

Overall I found the book to be very informative and interesting.  I learned a lot that I had not known before. It was enough to whet my appetite to want to read more about them. This may have been the books purpose since the full volumes on each individual is available or the purpose may have been to give the reader just enough to get a good overview of these men. It was a good read overall.

You can get a copy of this title from Amazon here.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Book Review: Desperate; Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Mae and Clarkson

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

I recently have been thrown back into that stage of raising a toddler/preschool aged child so I could relate to this book. Motherhood is hard work and this book was a fountain of encouragement if you find yourself barely making it through. If we are all honest we can all attest to those days of barely making it.

Desperate was written in a most interesting way and unlike any other book on motherhood I have seen before. What made this title distinct from the others was its style of writing is in a Titus 2 type of format or method. The way that an older woman comes alongside a younger woman to encourage and support her.

At many times I found the way that Clarkson came alongside and ministered to Mae seemed made up. I mean who does that these days?! It sounds way too good to be true, however this is how we should be ministering to one another. I think they have found a blessing in each other. It is definitely a relationship that we all should long for and be more intentional to seek out.

Because this was written in this Titus 2 type method each chapter starts out with a letter of desperation from Mae to Clarkson then a response letter from Clarkson to Mae. What then follows is a chapter on that entire subject written by both authors. In a way we can glean off this relationship however each of us need one like this, an older woman who would come alongside us and help us when we are in these desperate situations. An older woman who will take the time to teach us the things we never knew.

Each chapter discusses a different aspect of motherhood and potential exasperation. The book is Christ focused and redirects our gaze at remembering the cross and what Christ did for us. Remembering He sacrificed for us so we can in turn sacrifice for our children in HIM. He is well pleased with that.

Another interesting aspect of this book is that at the end of each chapter it does include some small group questions and Scripture which would prove helpful when meeting together in a small group. I think it would be a beautiful thing if a wide range of women came together and read and discussed to facilitate that Titus 2 method.

Also there is a video that you can watch that accompanies each chapter. You can either scan a QR code with your smartphone or visit a website to view these. They are about 3 minutes long and are an additional supplement to this book. Another neat added bonus is a question and answer portion that includes several questions people have asked Clarkson throughout the years. A nice way to glean from her wisdom.

Overall this book was easy to read, an encouragement to mothers, and pointed to our deep need for Christ in this high calling. It does point to Christ and give you hope. Enjoy your kids because they are gifts given to you!

To get a copy of this book from go here. Or even get it on kindle for a dollar cheaper here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Some Lessons from Job on Worship


                                       Picture from google image search

When you are down and out what is your response? Where do you look for hope?

One response from one man that was filled with faith really astonishes me. I think it is something we can surely learn from. It is the inspired word of God. It was spoken by an unlikely source. However, God knew. God knows us intimately. He knows our words before they come out of our mouths, He knows what is in our hearts. We see this in Psalm 139.

The words I am about to share from Scripture are spoken by a man like us except he was in a trial bigger than most of ours will ever be. It is in these times of suffering we really see what we are made of at the core of our being. They are the things that expose us and reveal if our belief and walk with God is true.

Two things we can remember about Job and what he endured.

1-God chose him to endure this, He knew Job's heart. He knew Job's faith would be sustained through it all because He is the One who sustains us. When all potential idols are removed all you have left is God. Is He enough? Is He what we really desire above all? God knows our hearts already but this trial would show Job what was really in His heart.

2-Job lost all his riches, his family, his reputation, his friends because they were betraying him with hurtful words, his wife who lost all hope and told him to just die, and he lost his health. Many of us store up our security in these things but they are not what sustain us. God allowed these losses to happen for reasons unknown to Job. When Job lost it all he says this astonishing statement;

 "For I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I shall see God, 
 whom I shall see for myself,
    and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
    My heart faints within me!
~Job 19:25-27 

Now those are some amazing words. We take it for granted that we live in this history time period where Christ came, died, and rose again. We can look back at the cross. Job however had to look forward to the cross. He in the depths of his heart knew he had a Redeemer. He knew he would one day see God. He worshiped in this knowledge! He had faith to believe and worshiped through all the hurt and pain. This astonishes me. It really does. Just take some time to ponder it. Then as I ponder I must ask God to Help me with my unbelief and to help me keep my eyes fixed on Him, the One who has come and will come again for us. This is not our home. Our home is in Heaven with Jesus our Redeemer. Oh what glory that is to ponder in trial or out of it. Glory!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Evangelism Helps from Jesus and the Samaritan Woman

Got this picture from via google images picture search for Jesus and the Samaritan woman.

We are studying through the book of John together for our Bible curriculum this semester. As we read this account I was reminded of Jesus' actual humanity. He found himself tired and thirsty. Sometimes I think I error thinking Jesus was like the fish from Nemo, Dori, who "just kept swimming, swimming, swimming." But he was just as frail in body as you or I. He felt things like we do. From the warmth of the burning noon sun on his body to the sweat that comes from bodily perspiration. The tingling of the dust thrown around his legs and under his feet as he walked along the dusty roads. He chose to become like us, dressing himself in flesh as He was re-knit together in Mary's womb. The Creator and Sustainer of all created to be like us. Such an amazing sacrifice leaving all His glory and the joy of the Trinitarian companionship just to be like one of us.

As we study this passage in John 4 I think it would be good to take note of Jesus' intentionality. First pious Jews avoided traveling through Samaria like the plague. There was prejudice and hate even toward these people who were relatives. Samaria, in the time after of King David and Solomon when the kingdom was split in two, was set up to be the Northern kingdoms capital and center of worship. Instead of making the Northern tribes travel all the way to Jerusalem to the temple of God that housed God's presence they set up Samaria. A substitutionary place of worship. This should not have been because God's presence resided in the temple alone (not limited to this place but this is where they were to come to worship and sacrifice).

When the Northern Kingdom was overtaken the Israelites were moved out leaving only the poorest of the poor among the people and other conquered people groups were placed there to dwell as well. So those people would intermarry making them a mixed race of people. Thus avoiding a trip through Samaria whenever possible. This however was not the case with Jesus. He came for all people and took His disciples through Samaria. Jesus also spoke and shared the good news of salvation with a woman. In these times Jewish men would not associate with women in public. But Jesus came and broke all the pious religious rules. He was the equalizer, all people are equal in worth in the eyes of God.

Jesus shares about living water, eternal life, personal details of her life, and true worship, then that He indeed is the Messiah. He uses the elements around him and her physical need of water to speak about the spiritual need of the living water or the coming Holy Spirit who is the believers guaranteed deposit for eternal life. He exposes some sin in her life which is necessary to show her a need for a Savior. He directs her to a better way. Informing her of things to come in people worshiping in Spirit and truth. In the near future upon Jesus death on the cross the curtain in the temple will tear itself in two exposing the Holy place of God. The reason for this is God's presence would now dwell in the temple or body of every individual who will believe in Christ. This is the very place now that will house the presence and Spirit of the Living God.

After this encounter with Jesus the woman responds, "28 Then the woman left her water jar, went off into the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Surely he can’t be the Messiah, can he?” 30 So they left the town and began coming to him" John 4:28-30.

This woman leaves the jar, the very reason why she approached the well, but Jesus left her with something so much more quenching--living water. She was so excited at the news and was apparently not embarrassed of her past life of sin because she shares her testimony with the town and the people start going to Jesus. Honestly when you are confronted by Jesus you have to make a crucial decision as to who you believe Him to be.

Now this next section is what I really want to show you when you see evangelism at work.

39 Now many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the report of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I ever did.”

We need to share about Jesus and what He has done for us and in our lives. This is what caused many to believe in Christ. She shared her personal testimony with them and they believed. 

40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they began asking him to stay with them. He stayed there two days, 41 and because of his word many more believed.

The Word of God will move in peoples hearts and has the power to make people believe. Speak the word in your conversations, sing it in psalms, share it in advice. The word has power to take root and here people also believe because of the very word of God. Know it well so you can share it fluidly in conversation.

42 They said to the woman, “No longer do we believe because of your words, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this one really is the Savior of the world.”

Then the people said it is not only because of her words and testimony but they know the Savior of the world is present among them because of His Word.  Our faith and personal relationship with Jesus must become our own and now it had become that to many Samaritans. 

Now I think this was a great reason for an intentional trip to Samaria, don't you. Jesus did. That is why He traveled that way. The way most Jews would not go.

I challenged us with this.

1-Sometimes you have to go to the places you would not usually think of going. Jesus was not afraid or put off by those who others disliked. We need not be afraid of those who are different from us. If God calls you there then go! He has some work to do through you for His glory. 

Where is God calling you that is different from your normal safe paved out path?

2-It is so important to share what Jesus is doing in your life. It may make the difference of someone being drawn to Him. Share it as much as you can. It may save a life for Heaven bound eternity.

3-Know the word. Hide it in your heart. Speak it and read it as often as you can. It may be the very thing God uses to again save a life for Heaven bound eternity.

Be faithful. Be intentional. Share Him with others. Know Him. Own your personal relationship. Pray.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

One Year with Dakota - Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my precious little man! It has been an entire year now that we have been blessed with knowing you. I can hardly believe it. Time has gone by so fast and I have seen you grow in so many needed ways. This past year of all of our lives has been about you. Growing you in God, growing you in health, growing you in mind. You have come a long way in a year.

I remember when you would go to any adult when you first came to us. How I had such a fear you would just walk off with another family right under my nose. I later learned this is from lack of attachment. You finally formed that shyness tucking your head into my neck that relieved me. You no longer go to just anyone.

I remember working hard with you to form that much needed bond of attachment. Every night I would cradle you in my arms and hold you there stroking your face gently and speaking words of love and redemption over you. You would not relax in my arms or even look me in the eyes then. After I let you go I would take some time to secretly cry. No child should ever be afraid to attach. As I persevered in this process with you one day you relaxed your body, then one day you made eye contact, and today we hold each others gaze. You ask me to hold you and rock you. An attachment, a true bond has been formed! I praise God for that because that means some healing for you and your life.

I remember you looking in the mirror practicing your words, "Hi. My name is Dakota, I am a boy and I am 3 years old." You were so adorable but you desperately wanted to get these things right as Daddy worked with you on them. They were basic skills a three year old should know and after this year you know them and many more things!

I remember you coming to us at first with only a few words. Now you have a large vocabulary.

I remember you running up to me saying you don't have to sin anymore because Jesus died on the cross for your sins! How precious you formed those thoughts after listening to a praise song! I pray one day you do surrender your life to Jesus.

I remember countless number of people commenting on how smart you are which means a lot to my heart knowing what has happened to you. God really does allow us to overcome even the worse things. He had His hand on you protecting you.

I remember you bringing the greatest joy to our lives. This year has been crazy with you but wonderful. We love you so much! Though we did not even know you existed four years ago it is a joy to know you now and love you like our own. Happy Forth Birthday! These are just some of the treasures in this mother's heart over the past year with you.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Psalm 119 - Week 21


 It is a new year and so many people want to get into a new reading plan of the Bible. That is always a good thing. His word is so rewarding and it would benefit everyone if people would just get in the habit of reading it and knowing it for themselves. Psalm 119 is a great passage to study to help you love His word more. 

We have only two more looks at it until we are finished. I did not get to memorize like I liked. However there are some great prayers through out and I love how they enrich my prayer life. 

Sin and Shin

161 Rulers persecute me without cause,
    but my heart trembles at your word.
Do you trust even in times when it looks like all things around you are falling apart?

162 I rejoice in your promise
    like one who finds great spoil.
Do you treat His word like a great treasure? Do you rejoice over it? I pray so!

163 I hate and detest falsehood
    but I love your law.
Do you hate falsehood like the Psalmist? The very contrast of it is His law. Love it with your whole heart. Live it. Memorize it.

164 Seven times a day I praise you
    for your righteous laws.
Do you continually praise Him for His law? Sometimes after reading certain portions I just have to sit back and say, Wow, Lord, WOW!

165 Great peace have those who love your law,
    and nothing can make them stumble.
Do you live in that great peace that is given to you if you just trust Him and His word? Do you stumble around alot? His law is the way to stability. 

166 I wait for your salvation, Lord,
    and I follow your commands.
Do you wait on Him and His salvation? Do you follow Him as you wait?

167 I obey your statutes,
    for I love them greatly.
Do you obey out of love or obedience? Oh may we love Him so that we desire to obey because of that not in some legalistic attempt.

168 I obey your precepts and your statutes,
    for all my ways are known to you.
He knows indeed all of our ways and I find great comfort in that! Do you? Do we obey His word? Oh the depths of sacrifice Christ made so we could be washed and made whole. His word should be our very life line a love letter and instruction manual from Him our first love. Read it, love it, live it!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Would You Condider Helping Us Fund Our Adoption?

Option 2 of the way you can help us fund our adoption is going to this fund raising site and donating. We get all of the funds. It gives you an option to also donate to their site but you can say no it is not a requirement. If everyone gave just a small amount we could easily raise this. Would you consider partnering with us?

Option 1 can be found at this post.

Please do pray. Money is no object to God and we are confident He will provide every cent we need for this.

Go to this site to donate

To read the entire story from the beginning you can read all of the posts here

Thanks so much for being a part of this journey with us!

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