Monday, April 30, 2012

To Follow Jesus' Steps

Yesterday, the heaven's rejoiced.  The angles sang.  And Jesus smiled.

Yesterday, George was baptised.  George decided it was time to tell the world that he wants to follow Jesus' steps. 

I wrote about the decision before.  George had been talking about baptism for a long time.  We always hesitated because as his parents, we were not sure if he REALLY understood what baptism was about.  And..in all honest...the morning of his baptism, we were pretty sure he totally DID NOT understand. 

The enemy was at us all..full force.

George argued with me over clothes...which he hasn't done for over a month.  The weather forecast was sunny and 90 degrees.  George put on jeans and a denim long sleeve shirt.  Sigh.  Then, George yelled at Isabel, "This is MY day.  It's all about ME.  Don't make ME mad.  I want everyone to think about ME!"

Joe and I were so sad. 

We walked out to our porch and quickly prayed together begging God to shelter our home and our children through this morning. 

We KNOW the enemy would rather George stay angry and RAD-like and turn a baptism into a display about himself.  But..we would NOT let that happen.  We are fighting for our son's life!

Joe had a long talk with George.  Then, I had a long talk with George. 

And we asked him, "George...why do you REALLY want to be baptised today?"

He thought a long time and then answered quietly, "I really want to follow in Jesus' steps.  And I know I haven't been like Jesus today."

We prayed together and made it to church, still praying that God would be with us all.

It was an absolutely beautiful day.  Our church was celebrating it's 5th birthday!  So, we had a huge picnic in the parking lot and a portable baptism was brought in for the 15 people who had DECIDED to make a public declaration of their love and devotion to Jesus. 

George became very quiet and nervous as he waited for the baptism to start.  I recognized the look on his face:  he could go one of two ways - freeze or fight.  I prayed again.

It came time for George to climb into the baptismal.  As the pastor shared a little about his story, George bowed his head and I noticed tears streaming out of his eyes.  He was crying.  He was asked about why he was choosing to be baptised and he quietly answered ,"Yes sir."  He was then dunked into the water....and the brought out of the water!  From death to life!

The entire church cheered for this little boy who was
ONCE:
             Broken.
                      Lost.
                          Forgotten.
                                    Alone.
Who is NOW:
             Adopted into God's family.
                          Found.
                              Thought of.
                                        Healed.

It is ONLY through the love of Christ that this broken, hurting child will ever heal!  It is ONLY through the love of Christ that George will in turn love again.  And it is only through the love of Christ that George will know how loved he is.

I asked George why he cried.  He said, "Because I was thinking of how I love Jesus so much."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Get God

Our church is studying Galatians.  I always love diving into a book of the Bible and studying it verse by verse.  Side note:  If you are not in a church that does that...you need to find one that does!  Knowing God's word and studying it is so important!  OK - enough preaching :)

One phrase that was repeated over and over again was,
"The gospel changes everything!"

I have not been able to stop thinking about those 4 words all week!  I have been overwhelmed with the idea of reminding myself on a daily basis exactly what the gospel is.  Unfortunately, I have believed for so long that the gospel message was a one and done kind of message.  Yea, I've heard that before and I believed...so I don't need to hear it again, right?  The gospel is the milk..I want meat now! 

But hearing the gospel and experiencing the gospel and knowing the gospel on a daily basis IS what changes everything!

When I sit and simply reflect on the gospel message...the message that I am a sinner, hopeless and without a future, and that God longed to redeem my life so He sent Jesus to live the life I should have lived and die the death I should I have died in order for me to be FORGIVEN and RESTORED to life with God.  I mean...wow...shouldn't that message floor me every single day?  The God of the universe chose to save me? 

And knowing that...changes EVERYTHING!

The best thing about the gospel message is that I get God.  I get to have a relationship with Him.  Like I said on Sunday night at our lifegroup...I get to get God! 

That is like the cherry on top of the sundae...or the bow on top of the biggest present!  I get to get God!

Reality sets in....and suddenly having God in my life seems not-so special or not-very cool.  I want more.  I want the whole ice-cream store or an entire house full of presents.  And I take for granted the beauty and the magnificence of a relationship with God!

Why isn't getting God enough for me?

It is in THOSE moments that I MUST preach the gospel to myself.  I MUST remind myself how amazing the gift of salvation IS. 

And then...everything changes.

Then...I want to LOVE more...I want to SERVE more...I want to FORGIVE and SHOW MERCY more.  Not because religion tells me to..but because I get to get God and because I get to get God, His love oozes out of me. 

Galatians 1:15 says, "..God, who set me apart from birth, and called me by his grace...".  So...God...chose me, set me apart at my birth and then called me by his grace...that changes everything!

I have a very realistic example of this...being set apart from birth and called by God's grace.  Actually I have TWO...or actually more like SIX examples of this.  I know all my children have been set apart.  They are all pursing God in their own relationships and there is nothing that brings my heart more joy than to know that my children love the Lord.

But one in particular warms my heart and that is Anna.  And her story..for another day.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ministry Update

What a week!

I have been discouraged...tired...overwhelmed lately.  I am tired of getting SFFC going!  I worked for two long years in Wisconsin getting it going.  Move to SC and have to get it going again.  I was frustrated with having to constantly explain the ministry over and over and over again.  I get so tired of nodding heads and smiled...but NO host families.  And I was letting the sin of discouragement overtake me. 

I had been crying out to God in prayer that maybe SFFC wasn't His will for me and maybe He was allowing SFFC to not "take off" because that is not the plan. 

"You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted;  you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more."  Psalm 10:17-18

And then, I have to literally slap myself upside the head! 

Traci!  This isn't about YOU!

While I am moaning and groaning about not seeing "success" with the ministry work here in SC, God is listening to the cries of the afflicted, the fatherless and the oppressed.  And He is looking for ways to pour love and care into their lives so they may not be scared anymore!  It's not about what I feel, or what I want, or how I am doing.

It's about LOVING OTHERS.

This week, I heard from a Grandma.  Her daughter had just attempted suicide.  Grandma was devastated.....scared.  Mom has two little boys and Grandma already has custody of their older sister.  She can't care for the boys, too.  She asked me if I would be willing to help.

HELP.  Give her HOPE.  Give HER encouragement.

I prayed with her.  I told her I could help.  And I simply listened as she shared details of her daughter's life. 

I haven't heard back.  That often happens with this ministry work.  We have people reach out for help and then not hear anything for months.  Many times...after months go by...I get that call saying they are ready for a hosting arrangement for their kids. I will wait.

But, I realized, yet again, how my flesh and my SELF often gets in the way of God's ministry work.  I make too many thing about ME...when it clearly needs to be about God and others.  Oh, Lord...I want to slay this selfish tendency in me!   When I was reminded that my role is to be the hands and feet of Christ, to offer ENCOURAGEMENT and LOVE to those who are scared and hurting, my heart was greatly encouraged!  It is only in God's economy where a woman can pour out encouragement and love to a stranger and in the process be FILLED to capacity!  How amazing is that!

I also had two church presentations this week; a time for me to talk to families out there who might become host families.  The two presentations where so spirit-filled, they took my breath away!  As I shared the message of this ministry, I saw tears flow down the faces of the men and women sitting there.  I knew God was working.  He was tugging at their heart.  He obviously had been working on them before they sat down to hear about SFFC.  I LOVE how God works that way.

So...the restlessness doesn't seem to be ministry related.  But Joe and I do have our eye on something... :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Three Girls

Sharing this post from No Greater Joy Mom. You can read about her amazing story here: http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/

My inbox is flooded with e-mails. Overflowing!The majority of them are from people wanting to know more about Hasya's orphanage. Lots of you have asked me, "Are there any other children available for adoption from that orphanage?"Yes! There are!Right now there are THREE beautiful little girls just waiting for someone to go and scoop them up. They are all so, so darling.This is Sarah. Quite honestly, I have no idea why this precious little lovie is still waiting for a family. She is six years old and has been listed for weeks now....and still no one has said, "That's our daughter!" I don't understand. Sarah is blind, for goodness sakes. That's nothing! From what I have been told from many friends who have adopted blind children, it is a very do-able special need.These children do so amazingly well once home.Please will someone give sweet Sarah a chance? Like our Hasya, she is going to waste away in that place unless someone rescues her soon.Sarah's file will only still be available for a few more weeks. If a family does not step forward, she will be lost. Her file will be returned to Bulgaria and Sarah will more than likely never have the opportunity to have a family to call her own. That's terrible! But equally as sad is the message that gets sent to her government...sorry, no one wants this child! It will confirm what they already feel...that Sarah has no worth or value!NOOOOO! Please don't let that happen. Please choose Sarah! She will be such a beautiful addition to any family. This cutie pie is Alyssa.Alyssa is nine years old. Like many children in this orphanage, she is tiny. Alyssa is doing pretty well, from what we know. Current medical information on her will be available this coming week.No matter what is "wrong" with Alyssa, she deserves a family to love her and help her to become ALL who God has created her to be.This is beautiful Gabby. She is just three years old.Updated medical information will soon be available on Gabby too. What we do know is that she has some type of cranial misconfiguration. How she deserves to be loved and protected....no matter what her future may look like! I cannot help but think of the best medical treatment that she could get in this country--it would literally change her life completely! She is an absolute treasure!These three girls will only be available for adoption for a short period of time.PLEASE share their urgent need to have families to call their own.Please give them HOPE!Please, I'm begging you all, don't allow these girls to become another one of the many children who become so frail and so weak due to the circumstances they are forced to live in. Please say YES and get them out of there before it is too late.Share, friends! Social media has been such HUGE blessing and has helped countless children find their forever families. Please help these sweet lovies to come home. Anyone wanting more information on these three girls can contact my friend, Shelley, at shele337@gmail.com. You might also like: because it IS our problem the big catch up post Dream Come True Giveaway life as usual housework, communication, and more....LinkWithin

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Restless

I am obsessed with the new Sw*tchfoot album! I got it for Harry as a Christmas gift and haven't been able to get it out of his CD play until last week to finally listen to it for myself. Immediately, the words to almost every song resonated within my soul. J#hn F#reman MUST be around my age..I'll have to look that up, but something has happened as I have settled into my fourth decade on this earth: a sense of restlessness.

You can watch it here....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFlScJ32_qw&feature=related

They sing:

I am the sea on a moonless night
Calling falling, slipping tides
I am the leaky, dripping pipes
The endless, aching drops of lights

I am the raindrop falling down
Always longing for the deeper ground
I am the broken, breaking seas

Even my blood finds ways to bleed
Even the rivers ways to run
Even the rain to reach the sun
Even my thirsty streams
Even in my dreams

I am restless
I am restless
I am breathless
I’m looking for you
I am restless
I run like the ocean to find your shore
I’m looking for you

Running for the other side
The world that I’ve always been denied
I’m running for the infinite
With the tears of saints and hypocrites

Oh, blood of black and white and grey
Oh, death in life and night in day
One by one by one
We let our rivers run
They run restless
Run restless
Drifting and breathless
I’m looking for you

We run restless
We run like the ocean to reach your shore
I’m looking for you

I can hear you breathing
I can feel you leading
More than just a feeling
I can feel you you reaching
Pushing through the ceiling
Till the final healing
Everything completing

Until the sea of glass we meet
At last completed and complete
Where tide and tear and pain subside
And laughter drinks them dry

I’ll be waiting
Anticipating
All that I aim for
What I was made for
With every heartbeat
All of my blood bleeds
Running inside me


Maybe it's that crazy mid-life crisis mumbo-jumbo? But, there really IS something to hitting that "half-way" point (God willing) that has caused me to stop and think about my life. What am I doing here? What has my life been worth over the first part of my life? Have I accomplished anything worth Kingdom value?

And where am I going? What is to come in the second half? Am I going to do MORE Kingdom work?

I have looked around at what I own, what I put value in, what I put my energy toward and I can tell you without doubt...I CAN DO MORE!

I am sick of the American way of life that tells me to make myself comfortable...save up for retirement....put my trust in the my bank account! Sick!

That is NOT the Christian life that I read about in the New Testament! Why have we gone so far from the examples we see in the Bible? And we justify it as "being wise"...but CLEARLY Jesus told us to store up our treasures in heaven!

So, I am restless. So is Joe. Our desire to is to continue this all out battle-filled life, following hard after Jesus and fighting against the desires of our flesh. What does that look like for us?

Adoption?

Mission?

I can tell you we talk about both. I know that may cause a few people in our live to fall off their rockers...but we don't like the rest of the world. Joe and I can't sit back KNOWING there are children all over this world with NO family!

And YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Parenting our adopted children is hard. And YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bringing in broken, hurting children is hard for our biological children.

But where in the world does God say, "Take it easy and live an easy life?" If you can find that in the Bible...please show me...and then maybe I will stop feeling restless.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Little Afraid to Write This One....


After months of feeling low and discouraged and frustrated and then often coming here to vent those frustrations, I am almost a little afraid to write this blog post.
Because...life is good now.
George is improving!
Oh, it could be a million different reasons...it could be that daylight savings time is back and he gets to play for more hours outside? It could be that he has settled into our new home, our new neighborhood, our new church and his new school? It could be that he gained something from talking to his counselor? It could be that Joe and I started parenting him differently? It could be that dozens of people had committed to praying for George and for Joe and I? It could be that we simply made it through another hard Jan-March season? It could be that Jesus moved in his heart?
Or..probably..it is a combination of all those things!
Either way...the George who smiles and laughs and hugs and loves is back. The George who shouts out hateful words, refuses to pray, says he is running away is gone.
Now..we had a really, really rough time coming home from the beach last week and I have no idea what set him off. I literally had to pull the car off the highway and deal with his temper tantrum and the fact that he simply couldn't get control of his mouth. And every day, he does something mean or nasty...but what 9 year old boy can go through a day without saying something mean or nasty to one of his 5 brothers and sisters?
I have learned so much about RAD and I KNOW this "good cycle" won't last forever. I know that for every leap forward, we fall 10 steps back as we have to re-teach and re-do all the trust and love issues. George is THAT wounded. He is THAT hurt. He is THAT much in need of a family that will never give up on him.
I was talking to a friend this morning and she asked me if we had ever thought of disruption. The word alone caused me to feel sick to my stomach. Yes...I have thought of it...many, many times. But NO...I will not follow through on those thoughts.
You see..it is my SIN that brings those thought to my mind! It is my desire to have an easier life...to live in comfort...to have control. But that is not where God wants me! God clearly had plans to have me live this part of my life on my knees. He likes me there - not because He is a mean, vindictive God...but because He knows that when I live my life on my knees, I stay close to HIM...leaning on HIS character. When I am closer to Him...by God's grace I start to look more like Him. My prayer is that I reflect the character of God to my husband and my children...and if I am "all that" and "doing great"...I am reflecting ME...not GOD. And ME is pretty ugly and self-serving and prideful...why would I want to reflect that? That is not who I want my children to be.
I have realized God is using me to show my children what a life trusting the Lord looks like. I couldn't do that without George in my life.
God is using me to show HIS grace...HIS mercy...HIS love because He is calling me to STAY in this relationship! STAY through the hard times. STAY through the hurt feelings. STAY through the frustration and the depression. STAY.
Because He never leaves. He never fails. He always stays.
I am only trying to do what my Savior did for me.
Praise God we are having a normal time with George now. I thank God for staying with ME through this.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter

We had a wonderful Easter weekend and Spring Break.

We went to the beach.

We went hiking in the mountains.

We made stepping stones.

We served on Good Friday.

We had Easter service in Falls Park in downtown Greenville - worshiping the Lord on a brilliant day!

Monday, April 2, 2012

George Has Decided.....

I know many of you remember reading about George hearing about Jesus Christ for the first time. His reaction was amazing! He threw his arms into the air and began singing, "Jesus loves me." Then, he told us how he wanted to go tell everyone about this Jesus. It is a moment Joe and I will never forget. You can go back and read about it here...http://weldieadoptionstory.blogspot.com/2010/06/is-story-over.html

Obviously, we have had rough times since then. There have been many, many moments where George announces that he no longer believes in God. He often tells me he has an evil voice in his head telling him what to do. George also blames Jesus..he'll say, "Jesus didn't help me do the right thing, " when he gets into trouble. And, just a few weeks ago, as we were sitting in the counselor's office, George asked me, "Is it OK if I hate God?"

All of that is the RAD speaking. George knows how much God means to me and our family, so he purposefully, uses that to try to hurt us or disrupt us. I have learned not to take these offenses personally and that is the way to diffuse George in those moments. And instead of getting angry or frustrated with him, I turn to God in prayer.

George's verse for the year is all about LOVE...and so, in desperation I pray these words:

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us." Ephesians 5:1

I pray that George would become an imitator of God.

I pray that George would KNOW he is a dearly loved child.

I pray that George would live a life of LOVE.

And I pray that George would KNOW how much Christ loves him.

Every day. This is my prayer. It never changes and it is that simple.

Joe and I truly believe that it is impossible for George to attach to us without first attaching to God and understanding that pure and amazing love.

George told his counselor a few weeks ago about his desire to be baptized. When the counselor asked him why, he said he wanted to be clean and start over. In my Baptist world and mind-set, I wasn't sure that was a good enough reason to be baptized. Isn't the "right" answer that he wanted to make a public declaration about his decision to follow Jesus?

His counselor pulled me into his office and said, "Why can't you just say yes to this?"

And so...I said yes. But first George had to talk to one of our pastors.

Yesterday, after service, one of our pastor's pulled George and I into his office to ask George some questions.

George clearly told the pastor what he knew about Jesus. "Jesus came to earth to die for our sins. He took the punishment for us..for all the bad stuff we do."

The pastor asked George about baptism.

"You go under the water and it's like Jesus dying and then you come back up and it's like Jesus coming back to life. I want that.."

The pastor asked George if he was baptised, did that mean he would do nothing wrong now?

"No..I will still make mistakes."

So...will God stop loving you when you make mistakes?

"No...God will love me forever."

They talked some more and then the pastor said to George, "George...you are going to have an amazing story to tell some day about how you have been adopted twice! You are part of this family who God clearly brought to you, and now you are going to be part of God's family. Do you know He is your father, too?" George nodded and smiled. "You are going to be able to tell so many people about this amazing love that comes from God!"

And, I had HOPE. Again...a real sense of HOPE for George.

George Bush Weldie will be getting baptised at the end of this month. And I can't wait to celebrate this decision and to look forward to the life to come. I still cling to the final chapter in Hosea and believe in the promise God gave me. And I understand that it is going to take WORK and TIME and a complete RELIANCE on God. And...I am OK with that.