Most of us know the Christmas story from the Biblical accounts in Matthew and Luke. Those of us who grew up watching the classic TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” likely remember Linus’ recitation of Luke 2.8-14:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Did you know that there’s another version of the Christmas story in the Bible, one without shepherds and sheep, one that portrays what was most certainly not a silent night?
Our friend and mentor, Dr. Bob Lowery, points to the story in Revelation 12.1-5.
Dr. Lowery suggests that this version written by the apostle John is “a PG-13, if not R-rated, rendering of the story.” John’s story doesn’t have lowing cattle and a straw-filled manger but instead has a fierce and terrible dragon, hungry for the flesh of a newborn baby.
Thanks so much for your prayers! We finally got the call today (after 11 weeks!) that our background clearance papers had come through! Now we will have our home study completed and be able to pass it on to the next place. There will possibly be another long wait, so please keep praying!
I would like to share a couple things that God is teaching me through all this. One is that while I was reading Revelation last night, I was reminded of how much Satan is not wanting adoptions to happen. In my understanding of Scripture, orphans and others who are often forgotten are who God wants as our top priorities. And just like the red dragon in Rev. 12 is waiting to snatch that baby away from Mary, and then he goes on “to make war against the rest of her offspring–those who obey God’s commandments and and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (v. 17), he is still doing his best to ruin the plans of God and so many families obeying Him through adoption. But Satan doesn’t win. God snatches the baby to Himself before the dragon can even blink an eye (v. 5)! And if God cares so much for orphans, then He is watching over them wherever they are, whether they are “home” with us or not. They belong to Him first and foremost! It is not about us or our wait–it is about those children, and we can rest assured that He is taking care of them! I have to trust Him with ALL my children–they are HIS first.
Secondly, I wanted to share another special gift God gave me today. Almost a month ago, I decided that I needed to be praying and fasting about this paperwork that was taking so long. So I chose Tuesdays to do so with today being the last day (before all the Christmas traveling). I also invited a good friend to participate with me. Today she asked to come over so we could pray together. When she got here I checked my email once more to see if there was any word, but there was none. So we talked about our emotions, about Scripture, and about what God was doing in us through this. Just before we were about to pray, I got the phone call with news that our paperwork had finally come! Not only was this a gift of good news, but also a gift of timing. He didn’t have to do things that way. So to me He was showing us that he was honoring our small sacrifice of food and heard our earnest prayers, and that He is right “here with us” in all of our struggles and our service to Him. Thank you Immanuel, for all of your gifts, great and small, during this Christmas season!
I’m a “blogger” today. What does that mean? At our house it means that part of my morning is spent on the computer, taking care of emails, paying bills, ordering Christmas gifts, and usually getting distracted by some African/adoption blogs…… 🙂 All while still in my pj’s!! But I found this blog and it is worth sharing: http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/. Katie is a beautiful 21-year-old American lady living in Uganda, caring for the poor. She has 14 children living with her. She is a modern day Mother Theresa, though she seems too humble to want to be compared to her. She is raw and honest about her feelings, and yet is always brought back to the fact that God is full of grace and mercy and has called EVERYONE to care for the poor and lonely, wherever they are. Please check out her blog–you won’t be disappointed, but bring your tissues.
We are still waiting on that little piece of paper. I think this is comparable to the 2nd month of pregnancy when you don’t feel good and you think that 9 months will be FOREVER!! But as I was praying about it and reading Revelation (where I happen to be in my reading plan), I was reminded that God is on His THRONE, and that nothing happens–good or bad–without His approval. Maybe there is a good reason for the wait that I will understand later, maybe not. But I know that no matter what, I can trust the One Who Sits on the Throne.
Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” (Rev 4:8b)
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.” (Rev 4:11)
We have been finished with our home study (the state part of our adoption) for two months now, but we are waiting for our background clearances to be verified by DCFS. It typically does not take this long which means it is possibly sitting on an empty desk somewhere. PLEASE pray for us and others (including our friends Ryan and Deanne Mott) who are waiting to continue on with our adoption paper-chasing process. Thanks for joining us on this journey!
A great time was had by all at the Father/Daughter Dance last weekend! The decorations were lovely, the food was yummy, the music was fun, the girls were gorgeous, and the fathers were reminded how special that father/daughter bond is.
It was a dreamy night for the girls, and I was so proud of all the dads on the dance floor. They were even out there attempting the Macarena and the Hoedown Throwdown! You won’t see that every day! I think it was an evening that will not soon be forgotten. In fact, we have been asked to make it a yearly occasion, so watch for it, along with a Mother/Son event in February.
The event raised money for three families’ adoptions, but it also helped to raise awareness of everyone’s role in caring for the “fatherless.” We are so thankful to all who attended and those who are praying and supporting us in other ways. We LOVE that you are on this journey with us!
I first heard Lysa Terkheurst at a Hearts at Home conference. She told her amazing story of God calling her family to adopt 2 teenage boys from Liberia in 2003. Since then over 40 children in their church have been adopted, most from Liberia! Unfortunately, the video of Lysa’s interview on Oprah is no longer available on youtube, but below is a link to her story.
Our fundraiser flyers are going out to all K-8 girls in Lincoln this week! We are excited that all the schools said yes! And we are excited to offer the Father/Daughter Dance in Mt. Pulaski on Nov. 14! We will have dancing, professional photos, a “Cinderella Song” performance, short swing dance lessons, refreshments, and a lot of fun! Hope you can join us! (See the flyer below.)
A couple of things to get this site started with a real post.
As I mentioned late yesterday (when I created the site), Suzanne and I spoke about our adoption journey at Lincoln Christian Church this morning. Suzanne met with Ron Otto, our preaching minister, several weeks ago to ask if we could have a few minutes to tell the church about our adoption decision and to enlist their support. Ron was enthused about the idea, especially since it coincided with the church’s annual Harvest of Talents weekend. Harvest of Talents was begun in 1983 by Pat Snyder, a faithful woman in our congregation who wanted to see if we could do something to help hungry and hurting people around the world. On the fourth Saturday of October, people from within and without the congregation fashion crafts, offer their services, and make food available for sale. Since the beginning, every penny raised is given to IDES to help those in need. This year’s Harvest raised over $82,000, bringing the 26-year total over $1.4 million. Pretty good.
So Suzanne and I were given some time to talk in this morning’s service about how we believe God has been leading us in this decision and how we foresee the church being involved with adoption ministry. We were moved by numerous conversations after the services, well-wishes and offers of support from this community. We’re truly looking forward to seeing how God uses this church in Lincoln, Illinois, to continue to help those in need around the world. Thank you, friends.
I mentioned in part of my comments this morning that I believed God used a couple of experiences last fall to help turn my heart toward adoption. The first of those was a series of photographs I’d seen on The Big Picture, a photoblog published by Boston.com. A post entitled “Congo’s crisis worsens” captured my attention in a way that surprised me. Background: I was in high school during the 80’s, at the height of the famine in Ethiopia. Since then I have seen thousands of pictures of the people of Africa whose lives have been altered by war, poverty, and famine. At some point, a lot of this simply became noise which I’d learned to ignore over time. When I saw the photos that day on The Big Picture, however, I was moved and couldn’t really explain why. These photographs weren’t all that different from others I’d seen but something was different inside me.
The other experience was a chance(?) viewing of a two-minute video called “The Girl Effect.” Go ahead and watch it.
This too had a powerful effect on me that I wasn’t prepared for. Although neither of these were related to adoption, they are related to Africa and caring for some of the world’s neediest people. In conjunction with the prayer and reflection I’d been doing last fall, these seemingly random bits of media shook me. I’m convinced that God used them to help me better see his vision for our family.